Research: MATHIE and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 233

Abstract

MATHIE and COLLEAGUES,  (1)British Homeopathic Association, Hahnemann House, Luton, UK. rmathie@britishhomeopathic.org outlined the methods used to search and categorize the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in homeopathy and to compare their retrieved records with those reported in two previous systematic reviews.

Background

A new programme of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in homeopathy will distinguish important attributes of RCT records, including: placebo controlled versus other-than-placebo (OTP) controlled; individualised versus non-individualised homeopathy; peer-reviewed (PR) versus non-peer-reviewed (NPR) sources. Aims: (a) To outline the methods used to search and categorise the RCT literature; (b) to report details of the records retrieved; (c) to compare our retrieved records with those reported in two previous systematic reviews (Linde et al., 1997; Shang et al., 2005).

Methodology

Ten major electronic databases were searched for records published up to the end of 2011. A record was accepted for subsequent systematic review if it was a substantive report of a clinical trial of homeopathic treatment or prophylaxis in humans, randomized and controlled, and published in a PR or NPR journal.

Results

489 records were potentially eligible: 226 were rejected as non-journal, minor or repeat publications, or lacking randomization and/or controls and/or a 'homeopathic' intervention; 263 (164 PR, 99 NPR) were acceptable for systematic review. The 263 accepted records comprised 217 (137 PR, 80 NPR) placebo-controlled RCTs, of which 121 were included by, 66 were published after, and 30 were potentially eligible for, but not listed by, Linde or Shang. The 137 PR records of placebo-controlled RCTs comprise 41 on individualized homeopathy and 96 on non-individualized homeopathy.

Conclusion

Our findings clarify the RCT literature in homeopathy. The 263 accepted journal papers will be the basis for our forthcoming programme of systematic reviews.

References

Mathie RT(1), Hacke D, Clausen J, Nicolai T, Riley DS, Fisher P. Randomised controlled trials of homeopathy in humans: characterising the research journal literature for systematic review. Homeopathy. 102(1):3-24. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2012.10.002. Jan 2013.

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