The 2005 Lancet review proved superior quality of homeopathy trials: what's next?
Alexander Leonard Benedictus Rutten
Several former reviews showed positive effects of homeopathy, but in 2005 The Lancet published
a review which claimed that homeopathy is a placebo effect. This review was criticised for not
revealing essential information. A reconstruction of post-publication data challenges the negative
conclusion. The only conclusion that was rectified by the methodology of the 2005 review was that
the quality of homeopathy trials, and especially of smaller trials, is better than quality of
conventional trials. The comparison of the effect of 110 homeopathy trials with 110 matched
conventional trials was flawed by selection bias, different publication bias, different quality, and
different safety. Nevertheless, there is no significant difference of effects between both methods.
Discussions about proof for homeopathy are in fact discussions about science. The prior
assumption that homeopathy cannot work pervades all aspects of this discussion and is not
properly evaluated in the introduction of most analyses.
Keywords: homeopathy, review; Lancet 2005
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