ASHP 08: Alternative medicine journals may be more valuable than commonly thought

December 9, 2008

Pharmacists shouldn't be so quick to disregard articles published in alternative medicine journals because the medicine is new or more "mystic" than traditional medicine, according to a study presented by Zara Risoldi-Cochrane, PharmD, resident at the Center for Drug Information and Evidence-based Practice, School of Pharmacy & Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.

Pharmacists shouldn't be so quick to disregard articles publishedin alternative medicine journals because the medicine is new ormore "mystic" than traditional medicine, according to a studypresented by Zara Risoldi-Cochrane, PharmD, resident at theCenter for Drug Information and Evidence-based Practice, Schoolof Pharmacy & Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha,Nebraska.

"A lot of doctors don’t take these journals very seriously," shesaid. "But I think this study shows that maybe they should givethem a second thought because they could hold more weight thanthey’re being given."

The study, which was completed over three months, analyzed trialsfeatured in 200 journal articles. The study led researchers tothe conclusion that basic elements that signify reliability in atrial, including information about randomization, were missingfrom articles in both traditional and alternative journals.

Dr. Risoldi-Cochrane discussed the stigma surrounding alternativejournals and the unconventional medicine discussed within thosejournals, saying that many healthcare professionals are quick todiscount them because they originate from other "more mysticareas."

Some of the mainstream journals studied included the BritishJournal of Dermatology and the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation. Some of the alternative journals studied were theJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and the Journalof Herb Pharmacotherapy.

But the study was not without its challenges, she said. It wasdifficult to collect a substantial number of alternativejournals. So Dr. Risoldi-Cochrane is hoping to repeat the studyin the future using about 200 alternative journals.