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Review
, 13 Suppl 2, 7-18

[Anthroposophic Medicine: Health Technology Assessment Report - Short Version]

[Article in German]
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Review

[Anthroposophic Medicine: Health Technology Assessment Report - Short Version]

[Article in German]
Gunver S Kienle et al. Forsch Komplementmed.

Abstract

Background and objective: The aim of this Health Technology Assessment Report was to analyse the current situation, efficacy, effectiveness, safety, utilization, and costs of Anthroposophic Medicine (AM) with special emphasis on everyday practice.

Design: Systematic review.

Material and methods: Search of 20 databases, reference lists and expert consultations. Criteriabased analysis was performed to assess methodological quality and external validity of the studies.

Results: AM is a complementary medical system that extends conventional medicine and provides specific pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. It covers all areas of medicine. 178 clinical trials on efficacy and effectiveness were identified: 17 RCTs, 21 prospective and 43 retrospective NRCTs, 50 prospective and 47 retrospective cohort studies/case-series without control groups. They investigated a wide range of AM-treatments in a variety of diseases, 90 x mistletoe in cancer. 170 trials had a positive result for AM. Methodological quality differed substantially; some studies showed major limitations, others were reasonably well conducted. Trials of better quality still showed a positive result. External validity was usually high. Side effects or other risks are rare. AM-patients are well educated, often female, aged 30-50 years, or children. The few economic investigations found less or equal costs in AM because of reduced hospital admissions and less prescriptions of medications.

Conclusion: Trials of varying design and quality in a variety of diseases predominantly describe good clinical outcome for AM, little side effects, high satisfaction of patients and presumably slightly less costs. More research and more methodological expertise and infrastructure are desirable.

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