Quality of reporting of integrative Chinese and Western medicine intervention in randomized controlled trials of ulcerative colitis: a review

Jialing Zhang, Jiashuai Deng, Nana Wang, Ping Wang, Ji Li, Yunhai Wang, Wanting Cui, Feng Liang, Peijin Chen, Juan Wang, Fei Han, Chun Pong Chan, Aiping Lyu, Zhaoxiang Bian*, Xuan Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background: Integrative Chinese and Western medicine (ICWM) is commonly used for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC) in clinical practice. However, it is unclear whether the details of ICWM interventions, such as selection rationale, implementation design, and potential interactions, were adequately reported. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the quality of reporting in the ICWM interventional randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of UC and to identify the common problems if any.

Methods: Through a search of 10 international electronic databases, we identified RCTs of UC with ICWM interventions published in English or Chinese from the inception date of each database up to 16 June 2023. Literature screening was strictly conducted based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the Population, Concept, and Context (PCC) framework. The general characteristics of the included studies were described. The quality of reporting was assessed according to three checklists, including the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) with 36 items (except for one item 1b about abstract), the CONSORT for Abstracts (17 items), and a self-designed ICWM-related checklist (27 items covering design rationale, intervention details, outcome assessments, and analysis). The reporting scores of RCTs published before and after 2010 were compared.

Results: A total of 1458 eligible RCTs were included. For the reporting compliance, the median score (interquartile ranges) of the CONSORT (72 score in total), the CONSORT for Abstract (34 score), and ICWM-related (54 score) items was 21 (18-25), 13 (12-15), and 18 (15-21), respectively. Although the time period comparisons showed that reporting quality of included publications improved significantly after the CONSORT 2010 issued (P < 0.01), more than 50% of items were evaluated as poor quality (reporting rate < 65%) among each checklist, especially in the CONSORT for Abstract and ICWM-specific items.

Conclusion: Although CONSORT appears to have enhanced the reporting of RCTs in UC, the quality of ICWM specifics is variable and in need of improvement. Reporting guidelines of the ICWM recommendations should be developed to improve their quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Number of pages13
JournalSystematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • CONSORT guideline
  • Integrative Chinese and Western medicine (ICWM)
  • Randomized controlled trial (RCT)
  • Reporting quality
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)


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