Dr. Robert Mathie (United Kingdom): Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of homeopathy

The clinical research evidence in homeopathy is reviewed, focusing on randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Emphasis is placed on distinguishing between RCT findings in individualised compared with non-individualised (standardised) homeopathy, treatment versus prophylaxis, and placebo-controlled versus non-placebo-controlled study design.

’Vote counting’ of positive results in evidence overviews has limited value, and meta-analyses (for homeopathy in general or by medical condition) have produced equivocal findings. Present initiatives in a systematic review and meta-analysis are identifying the study quality and magnitude of treatment effects, reported in RCTs within the different categories of peer-reviewed RCTs, with the overarching objective of reforming optimal clinical research in homeopathy. Our meta-analysis of data from published RCTs has found evidence for a small treatment effect of remedies prescribed in individualised homeopathy. The evidence from RCTs of non-individualised homeopathy is less compelling. The implication of these findings for future research development in homeopathy is a matter of importance.

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