The combination of Chinese and Western Medicine in the management of rheumatoid arthritis: A real-world cohort study across China

Linda L. D. Zhong*, Rongsheng Wang, Wai Ching Lam, Qi Zhu, Peipei Du, Pei Hua Cao, Ting Jiang, Yuan Yuan Zhang, Jie Shen, Xiao Su, Luan Xue, Jianchun Mao, Yong Fei Fang, Ming Li Gao, Chun Rong Hu, Jiang Yun Peng, Ying Gu, Qianghua Wei, Runyue Huang, Aiping LyuHongxia Liu*, Dongyi He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the efficacy of Integrative medicine (IM), compare with Western medicine (WM), in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a cohort study.
Methods: This is a cohort study with recruitment of RA patients from 10 hospitals in China. The primary outcome was change in disease activity score 28 (DAS28) during 4 follow-up visits. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) models that controlled for variables were used to investigate a time trend and assess group differences in the primary outcome and secondary outcomes after propensity score matching (PSM).
Results: A total of 3195 patients with RA received IM (n = 1379, 43.2%) or WM (n = 1816, 56.8%). Following 1:1 propensity score matching, 1,331 eligible patients prescribed IM were compared to 1,331 matched patients prescribed WM. The GEE analysis with PSM showed that the IM was more beneficial to significantly decrease the levels of VAS, PGA and PhGA (VAS: odds ratio (OR), 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63–0.92; p = 0.004; PGA: OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.64–0.92; p = 0.007; and PhGA: OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.64, 0.93; p = 0.004), and reduce DAS28 (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.73–0.98; p = 0.030) in the per-protocol population.
Conclusion: This study suggests that compare to WM, IM has advantages in improving RA-related outcomes. However, the statistical significance might not reveal significant clinical difference. Further studies should be focused on specific treatment strategies and/or disease stages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number933519
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

User-Defined Keywords

  • cohort study
  • integrative medicine
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • autoimmune disease
  • clinical study


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