Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Only RCTs were included in this review.
Specific interventions included in the review
All forms and modes of application of homeopathy were eligible for inclusion. Comparative studies of one homeopathic treatment measured against another active drug were included. One intervention compared two 2 mL intra-articular injections per week of Zeel (a combination homeopathic preparation composed of Rhus toxicodendron, Arnica montana, Solanum dulcamara, Sanguinaria canadensis and sulphur) with one 2mL injection per week of Hyalart (a brand of hyaluronic acid) for 5 weeks.
A second intervention compared oral administration of either 10 drops of a homeopathic preparation (Rhus toxicodendron, Causticum and Lac vaccinum) and placebo capsules, or a liquid placebo and paracetamol capsules (2,600 mg paracetamol daily), all taken four times daily for 30 days.
A third intervention compared the oral administration (three times daily) of two 300 mg capsules of fenoprofen or two capsules of placebo with 5 drops of Rhus toxicodendron (6x: 1/1,000,000 dilution) or 5 placebo drops. In this intervention, the treatment regimes consisted of: (1) placebo capsules and placebo drops; (2) fenoprofen capsules and placebo drops; or (3) placebo capsules and Rhus toxicodendron drops. The duration of each treatment regime was 2 weeks.
Finally, the fourth intervention compared topical application (three times daily for 4 weeks) of 1 g 0.5% piroxicam gel with SRL. SRL contains Symphytum officinale (comfrey), Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy) and Ledum palustre (marsh tea).
Participants included in the review
OA. Patients of any age with OA were eligible. The joint location of the OA was the knee in three of the included studies, and the hip and knee in the remaining study.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The authors did not specify any inclusion criteria for the outcome measures. The primary outcome measures were pain under various conditions and joint tenderness. Pain was measured on visual analogue scales (VAS) and 4-point scores, while joint tenderness was measured by the single-joint Ritchie index.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors do not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many of the reviewers performed the selection.