Complementary and alternative medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis: an overview of systematic reviews.

Research paper by Edzard E Ernst, Paul P Posadzki

Indexed on: 08 Oct '11Published on: 08 Oct '11Published in: Current Pain and Headache Reports


This review critically evaluates the literature on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.Electronic databases were searched to identify all relevant systematic reviews of the effectiveness of CAM in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis published between January 2010 and January 2011. Reviews were defined as systematic if they included explicit and repeatable inclusion and exclusion criteria for studies. Their methodological quality was assessed using the Oxman criteria for systematic reviews.Five systematic reviews met our inclusion criteria. They all arrived at cautious conclusions. Four reviews were of high quality and one was burdened with high risk of bias. The evidence to support the effectiveness of CAM as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is ambiguous.