Systematic Review of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Abstract

Objective:

We performed a systematic review for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [CAM] as defined by the National Institute of Health in Inflammatory Bowel Disease [IBD], ie Crohn’s disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC], with the exception of dietary and nutritional supplements, and manipulative therapies.

Methods:

A computerized search of databases [Cochrane Library, Pubmed/Medline, PsychINFO, and Scopus] through March 2014 was performed. We screened the reference sections of original studies and systematic reviews in English language for CAM in IBD, CD and UC. Randomized controlled trials [RCT] and controlled trials [CT] were referred and assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.

Results:

A total of: 26 RCT and 3 CT for herbal medicine, eg aloe-vera gel, andrographis paniculata, artemisia absinthium, barley foodstuff, boswellia serrata, cannabis, curcumin, evening primrose oil, Myrrhinil intest®, plantago ovata, silymarin, sophora, tormentil, wheatgrass-juice and wormwood; 1 RCT for trichuris suis ovata; 7 RCT for mind/body interventions such as lifestyle modification, hypnotherapy, relaxation training and mindfulness; and 2 RCT in acupuncture; were found. Risk of bias was quite heterogeneous. Best evidence was found for herbal therapy, ie plantago ovata and curcumin in UC maintenance therapy, wormwood in CD, mind/body therapy and self-intervention in UC, and acupuncture in UC and CD.

Conclusions:

Complementary and alternative therapies might be effective for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases; however, given the low number of trials and the heterogeneous methodological quality of trials, further in-depth research is necessary.

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