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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

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, September 2018
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (98th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
237 tweeters
4 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
2 video uploaders


11 Dimensions

Readers on

156 Mendeley
Homeopathic medicinal products for preventing and treating acute respiratory tract infections in children
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd005974.pub5
Pubmed ID

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


Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) are common and may lead to complications. Most children experience between three and six ARTIs annually. Although these infections are self-limiting, symptoms can be distressing. Many treatments are used to control symptoms and shorten illness duration. Most have minimal benefit and may lead to adverse effects. Oral homeopathic medicinal products could play a role in childhood ARTI management 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) including 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 URTI recovery, and four studies investigated the effect on preventing URTIs after one to three months of treatment, followed up for the remainder of the year. Two treatment and two prevention studies involved homeopaths individualising treatment. The other studies used predetermined, non-individualised treatments. All studies involved highly diluted homeopathic medicinal products.We found several 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 support from a non-government organisation; two 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 favouring placebo, 95% CI 0.09 to 19.54; very low-quality evidence) and long-term cure rates (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.10 to 9.67; 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 ARTI recurrence 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

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 237 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 156 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 156 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 20 13%
Student > Bachelor 19 12%
Researcher 18 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 7%
Other 11 7%
Other 32 21%
Unknown 45 29%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 48 31%
Nursing and Health Professions 24 15%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 8 5%
Psychology 5 3%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 4 3%
Other 14 9%
Unknown 53 34%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 200. 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 10 June 2021.
All research outputs
of 17,989,531 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,801 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 283,970 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 134 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,989,531 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 11,801 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% 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 283,970 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 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 134 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.