Seven studies that might have been RCTs (see Study Design) were included (n=457 from tables).
One study was high quality (Jadad score of 5); the others were poor quality. Two studies reported triple-blinding. Major flaws included incomplete reporting, results not reported for either all participants or for the total duration of the trial, lack of statistical analysis, and the use of an intervention that was not fixed.
Ayurvedic medicine versus placebo (3 trials).
The highest quality RCT (182 entered, 165 completed) found no statistically significant difference between Ayurvedic medicine and placebo for the primary study outcome of a 20 to 50% improvement in specified variables or a 20% improvement in the ACR scale. The other 2 trials were incompletely reported; one showed an improvement with Ayurvedic medicine compared with placebo, while the other showed no significant difference between Ayurvedic medicine and placebo.
Ayurvedic medicine versus another Ayurvedic medicine (4 trials). The studies were difficult to interpret since no Ayurvedic medicine had been proven to be of benefit. The studies either showed no significant difference or reported insufficient data to determine the effects.
Adverse effects (3 trials).
Adverse effects with Ayurvedic medicine included anorexia, gastrointestinal problems, weight loss, pruritus, dermatitis, joint complaints, stomatitis and exanthema.