Background: The main treatment for tuberculosis is antituberculous drugs. Low level laser therapy is used as an adjunct to antituberculous drugs, predominantly in the former Soviet Union and India.
Objectives: To compare low level laser therapy plus antituberculous drugs with antituberculous drugs alone for treating tuberculosis.
Study selection criteria: Randomized trials comparing low level laser therapy plus antituberculous drugs with antituberculous drugs alone in people with tuberculosis.
Main results: One randomized controlled trial (130 participants) conducted in India met the inclusion criteria. This trial was poorly reported, with no information on the generation of allocation sequence or allocation concealment. The trial report did not provide details on the group that each of the participants were randomized into or which group those participants that left the trial were from. This precluded the use of its data on time to sputum conversion and other outcome measures for analysis.
Conclusions: The use of low level laser therapy for treating tuberculosis is still not supported by reliable evidence. Researchers need to focus on conducting well designed randomized controlled trials to justify the continued participation of volunteers for studies of this experimental intervention.
An updated version of this review is now available.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006 Issue 1. Art. No.: CD003490. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003490.