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Homeopathic medicinal products for preventing and treating acute respiratory tract infections in children

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#39 of 10,784)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (98th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
2 news outlets
blogs
3 blogs
twitter
593 tweeters
facebook
5 Facebook pages

Citations

dimensions_citation
7 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
53 Mendeley
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Title
Homeopathic medicinal products for preventing and treating acute respiratory tract infections in children
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd005974.pub4
Pubmed ID
Authors

Kate Hawke, Mieke L van Driel, Benjamin J Buffington, Treasure M McGuire, David King

Abstract

Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) are common and may lead to complications. Most children experience between three and six ARTIs each year. Although these infections are self limiting, the symptoms can be distressing. Many treatments are used to control symptoms and shorten the duration of illness. They often have minimal benefit and may lead to adverse effects. Oral homeopathic medicinal products could play a role in the treatment of ARTIs for children if evidence for effectiveness is established. To assess the effectiveness and safety of oral homeopathic medicinal products compared with placebo or conventional therapy to prevent and treat acute respiratory tract infections in children. We searched CENTRAL (2017, Issue 11), which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Specialised Register, MEDLINE (1946 to 27 November 2017), Embase (2010 to 27 November 2017), CINAHL (1981 to 27 November 2017), AMED (1985 to December 2014), CAMbase (searched 29 March 2018), British Homeopathic Library (searched 26 June 2013 - no longer operating). We also searched the WHO ICTRP and ClinicalTrials.gov trials registers (29 March 2018), checked references, and contacted study authors to identify additional studies. Double-blind, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or double-blind cluster-RCTs comparing oral homeopathy medicinal products with identical placebo or self selected conventional treatments to prevent or treat ARTIs in children aged 0 to 16 years. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. We included eight RCTs of 1562 children receiving oral homeopathic medicinal products or a control treatment (placebo or conventional treatment) for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Four treatment studies examined the effect on recovery from URTIs, and four studies investigated the effect on preventing URTIs after one to three months of treatment and followed up for the remainder of the year. Two treatment and two prevention studies involved homeopaths individualising treatment for children. The other studies used predetermined, non-individualised treatments. All studies involved highly diluted homeopathic medicinal products.We found several key limitations to the included studies, in particular methodological inconsistencies and high attrition rates, failure to conduct intention-to-treat analysis, selective reporting, and apparent protocol deviations. We assessed three studies as at high risk of bias in at least one domain, and many had additional domains with unclear risk of bias. Three studies received funding from homeopathy manufacturers; one reported support from a non-government organisation; two received government support; one was cosponsored by a university; and one did not report funding support.Methodological inconsistencies and significant clinical and statistical heterogeneity precluded robust quantitative meta-analysis. Only four outcomes were common to more than one study and could be combined for analysis. Odds ratios (OR) were generally small with wide confidence intervals (CI), and the contributing studies found conflicting effects, so there was little certainty that the efficacy of the intervention could be ascertained. All studies assessed as at low risk of bias showed no benefit from oral homeopathic medicinal products; trials at uncertain and high risk of bias reported beneficial effects.We found low-quality evidence that non-individualised homeopathic medicinal products confer little preventive effect on ARTIs (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.57). We found low-quality evidence from two individualised prevention studies that homeopathy has little impact on the need for antibiotic usage (N = 369) (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.35 to 1.76). We also assessed adverse events, hospitalisation rates and length of stay, days off school (or work for parents), and quality of life, but were not able to pool data from any of these secondary outcomes.There is insufficient evidence from two pooled individualised treatment studies (N = 155) to determine the effect of homeopathy on short-term cure (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.09 to 19.54; very low-quality evidence) and long-term cure rates (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.10 to 9.96; very low-quality evidence). Adverse events were reported inconsistently; however, serious events were not reported. One study found an increase in the occurrence of non-severe adverse events in the treatment group. Pooling of two prevention and two treatment studies did not show any benefit of homeopathic medicinal products compared to placebo on recurrence of ARTI or cure rates in children. We found no evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathic medicinal products for ARTIs in children. Adverse events were poorly reported, so conclusions about safety could not be drawn.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 53 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 53 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 9 17%
Student > Bachelor 8 15%
Researcher 4 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 8%
Student > Postgraduate 4 8%
Other 12 23%
Unknown 12 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 19 36%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 11%
Nursing and Health Professions 4 8%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 3 6%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 2 4%
Other 4 8%
Unknown 15 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 487. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 04 December 2019.
All research outputs
#18,437
of 13,976,131 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#39
of 10,784 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#973
of 276,341 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#2
of 196 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,976,131 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,784 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 276,341 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 196 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.