General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine
(2000; 80 pages) [French] [Spanish] Ver el documento en el formato PDF
Índice de contenido
Ver el documentoAcknowledgements
Ver el documentoForeword
Cerrar esta carpetaIntroduction
Ver el documentoDefinitions
Ver el documentoGeneral Considerations
Ver el documentoPurpose of the Guidelines
Ver el documentoUse of the Guidelines
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenido1. Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Herbal Medicines
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenido2. Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Traditional Procedure-Based Therapies
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenido3. Clinical Research
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenido4. Other Issues and Considerations
Ver el documentoReferences
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnexes
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex I. Guidelines for the Assessment of Herbal Medicinesa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex II. Research Guidelines for Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Herbal Medicinesa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex III. Report of a WHO Consultation on Traditional Medicine and AIDS: Clinical Evaluation of Traditional Medicines and Natural Productsa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex IV. Definition of Levels of Evidence and Grading of Recommendationa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex V. Guidelines for Levels and Kinds of Evidence to Support Claims for Therapeutic Goodsa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex VI. Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (GCP) for Trials on Pharmaceutical Productsa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex VII. Guidance for Industry: Significant Scientific Agreement in the Review of Health Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplementsa
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex VIII. Guideline for Good Clinical Practicea
Abrir esta carpeta y ver su contenidoAnnex IX. WHO QOL (Quality of Life) User Manual: Facet Definitions and Response Scalesa
Ver el documentoAnnex X. Participants in the WHO Consultation on Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine
 

General Considerations

Practices of traditional medicine vary greatly from country to country, and from region to region, as they are influenced by factors such as culture, history, personal attitudes and philosophy. In many cases, their theory and application are quite different from those of conventional medicine. Long historical use of many practices of traditional medicine, including experience passed on from generation to generation, has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of traditional medicine. However, scientific research is needed to provide additional evidence of its safety and efficacy. In conducting research and evaluating traditional medicine, knowledge and experience obtained through the long history of established practices should be respected.

Despite its existence and continued use over many centuries, and its popularity and extensive use during the last decade, traditional medicine has not been officially recognized in most countries. Consequently, education, training and research in this area have not been accorded due attention and support. The quantity and quality of the safety and efficacy data on traditional medicine are far from sufficient to meet the criteria needed to support its use worldwide. The reasons for the lack of research data are due not only to health care policies, but also to a lack of adequate or accepted research methodology for evaluating traditional medicine. It should also be noted that there are published and unpublished data on research in traditional medicine in various countries, but further research in safety and efficacy should be promoted, and the quality of the research should be improved.

The methodologies for research and evaluation of traditional medicine should be based on the following basic principles. On the one hand, the methodologies should guarantee the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines and traditional procedure-based therapies. On the other hand, however, they should not become obstacles to the application and development of traditional medicine. This complex issue has been a concern for national health authorities and scientists in recent years.

The discussion of methodologies for research and evaluation of traditional medicine is divided into two parts: herbal medicines and traditional procedure-based therapies. However, successful treatment is often the consequence of both types of treatment acting synergistically. Thus, the efficacy of traditional medicine has to be evaluated in an integrated manner, taking into account both treatment types. Consequently, efficacy assessment of traditional medicine may be quite different to that of conventional medicine. As traditional medicine relies on a holistic approach, conventional efficacy assessment measures may not be adequate.

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