Traditional Chinese medicine versus western medicine as used in China in the management of rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, single-blind, 24-week study

Yi ting He*, Ai hua Ou, Xiao bo Yang, Wei Chen, Li yuan Fu, Aiping LYU, Xiao ping Yan, Xing hua Feng, Li Su, Yue jin Song, Sheng ping Zeng, Wei Liu, Xian Qian, Wan hua Zhu, Ying rong Lao, Wei hua Xu, Ze huai Wen, Xiao hong He, Bao juan Wang, Geng xin ChenSu qin Xue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study is designed to compare the efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with western medicine (WM) in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is a 24-week, randomized, multicenter, single-blind study comparing TCM with WM (as used in China) carried out between June 2002 and December 2004 in nine research centers in China, involving 489 patients. Patients were randomized to receive TCM (n = 247), MTX and SSZ (n = 242). MTX was started at a dose of 5 mg to a final dose of 7.5–15 mg weekly. The maintenance dose was 2.5–7.5 mg weekly. The starting dose of SSZ was 0.25 g bid, increasing by 0.25 g a day once a week to a final dose of 0.5–1 g qid. The maintenance dose was 0.5 g tid to qid. Primary end point was the proportion of patients with response according to the American College of Rheumatology 20 % improvement criteria (ACR20) at weeks 24. At 24 weeks, ACR20 responses were 53.0 % in TCM group and 66.5 % in WM group, (P < 0.001) at 24 weeks. ACR 50 responses were 31.6 % of TCM group and 42.6 % in WM group, (P = 0.01). ACR70 responses were 12.6 % in TCM group and 17.4 % in WM group, (P = 0.14). Side effects were observed more frequently in WM group. In this study, ACR20, ACR50 responses at 24 weeks were significantly better in the WM treated group, by intention to treat (ITT) and per protocol analysis. The ACR 70 response showed no significant difference between the two groups. TCM, while effective in treating RA, appears to be less effective than WM in controlling symptoms, but TCM is associated with fewer side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1647-1655
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology International
Volume34
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Randomized
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Single-blind
  • Therapy
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Western medicine

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