Objective: To discuss the quality of reporting in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM), and to provide suggestions for improving the reporting of future clinical studies in this therapeutic area. Methods: A search of the Cochrane Library was conducted to identify RCTS of CHM. A revised CONSORT checklist designed for CHM clinical studies was implemented. The revised CONSORT checklist contained 63 items, including the following new items added specifically for CHM: (1) "syndrome of disease" based on Chinese medicine theories; (2) rationale of CHM formula; (3) formula composition; (4) preparation form of CHM; (5) quality control of CHM. Results: The overall reporting quality of the RCTs as assessed with the revised CONSORT checklist varied between 19% and 44%, with a median score of 32% (standard deviation 8%). Conclusion: The overall quality of reporting of RCTs of CHM evaluated with a revised CONSORT checklist was poor, reflecting the need for improvements in reporting future clinical trials in this area. Recommendations: To improve the quality of reporting of RCTs of CHM, we recommend adopting a revised CONSORT checklist that includes items specific to CHM. We also recommend that editors of CHM journals require authors to use a structured approach to presenting their trials as a condition of publication.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Chinese herbal medicine
- Quality assessment
- Randomized controlled trial