ARIA update: I - Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine for rhinitis and asthma

G Passalacqua, P J Bousquet, K H Carlsen, John P. Kemp, R F Lockey, B Niggemann, R Pawankar, David Brendan Price, J Bousquet

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Complementary-alternative medicines are extensively used in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma, but evidence-based recommendations are lacking. To provide evidence-based recommendations, the literature was searched by using MedLine and the Cochrane Library to March 2005 (Key words: Asthma [OR] Rhinitis, [AND] Complementary [OR] Alternative Medicine, [OR] Herbal, [OR] Acupuncture, [OR] Homeopathy, [OR] Alternative Treatment). Randomized trials, preferably double-blind and published in English, were selected. The articles were evaluated by a panel of experts. Quality of reporting was assessed by using the scale validated by Jadad. The methodology of clinical trials with complementary-alternative medicine was frequently inadequate. Meta-analyses provided no clear evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture in rhinitis and asthma. Some positive results were described with homeopathy in good-quality trials in rhinitis, but a number of negative studies were also found. Therefore it is not possible to provide evidence-based recommendations for homeopathy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, and further trials are needed. A limited number of studies of herbal remedies showed some efficacy in rhinitis and asthma, but the studies were too few to make recommendations. There are also unresolved safety concerns. Therapeutic efficacy of complementary-alternative treatments for rhinitis and asthma is not supported by currently available evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1062
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • complementary-alternative medicine
  • asthma
  • rhinitis
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis
  • randomized controlled trial
  • controlled clinical trial
  • placebo-controlled trial
  • chinese herbal medicine
  • exercise-induced asthma
  • bronchial asthma
  • double blind
  • homeopathic preparation
  • adjunctive treatment


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