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1.  The Clinical Value of Huangqi Injection in the Treatment of Leucopenia: A Meta-Analysis of Clinical Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83123.
Background
Huangqi injection is derived from Astragalus membranaceus root. In China, recent reports of Huangqi injection for the treatment of leucopenia have emerged. However, a systematic review of these reports has not been performed. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of clinical controlled trials to assess the clinical value of Huangqi injection in the treatment of leucopenia.
Methods
We searched the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), Wanfang Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Scientific Journals Full-text Database (VIP), as well as PubMed and EMBASE to collect the data about trials of Huangqi injection for treating leucopenia. A meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.2 software.
Results
A total of 13 studies involving 841 patients were included in this study. The overall study quality was lower according to the Jadad scale. The meta-analysis showed that experimentally treated patients experienced greater therapeutic efficacy and lower white blood cell counts than control groups treated with Western medicine (P < 0.05). No publication bias was evident, according to Egger’s test.
Conclusions
The validity of this meta-analysis was limited by the overall poor quality of the included studies. Huangqi injection may have potential clinical value in the treatment of leucopenia, but confirmation with rigorously well-designed multi-center trials is needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083123
PMCID: PMC3861487  PMID: 24349444
2.  Oral Huangqi Formulae for Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral Huangqi formulae for the treatment of stable COPD. Methods. The major databases were searched until September 2010 and supplemented with a manual search. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of oral Huangqi formulae that reported on lung function, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire, symptom improvement and/or frequency of exacerbations were extracted by two reviewers. The Cochrane tool was used for the assessment of risk of bias in the included trials. Data were analyzed with RevMan 5.1.2 software. Results. 25 RCTs (1,661 participants) were included. Compared with conventional therapy (CT) alone, oral Huangqi formulae plus CT increased FEV1, and a similar result was found comparing Huangqi formulae with no treatment. Improvements in SGRQ total score, COPD-related symptoms and reduction of frequency of exacerbations were found in patients receiving Huangqi formulae plus CT compared to those receiving CT alone or CT plus placebo. No serious adverse events were reported. However, there were some methodological inadequacies in the included studies. Conclusions. The benefits of Huangqi formulae for stable COPD were promising, but its efficacy and safety have not been established due to methodological weakness and possible bias in the reported results. Further rigorously designed studies are warranted.
doi:10.1155/2013/705315
PMCID: PMC3623121  PMID: 23606889
3.  Meta-Analysis of the Clinical Value of Danshen Injection and Huangqi Injection in Liver Cirrhosis 
Objective. To evaluate the clinical value of Danshen injection and Huangqi injection for the treatment of liver cirrhosis. Methods. The Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), Chinese Scientific Journals Full-Text Database (VIP), Wanfang Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), PubMed, and EMBASE database were searched to collect the literatures about the randomized controlled trials involving the treatment of liver cirrhosis with Danshen injection combined with Huangqi injection, and the data analyses were performed using RevMan 4.2 software. Results. A total of 11 studies involving 1086 patients (trials group: 554 cases, control group: 532 cases) were included in this study. Compared with those in control group, the meta-analysis showed-that the total effectiveness rate and the level of serum albumin increased, while serum total bilirubin, alanine transmninase, type III procollagen, hyaluronic acid, laminin, and type-IV collagen decreased in trials group. The Jadad score ranged from 1 to 2 and the funnel plot analysis suggests that publication bias may occur. Conclusions. Danshen injection combined with Huangqi injection may promote the curative efficacy of liver cirrhosis, which is a promising novel treatment approach. The exact outcome needs to perform rigorously designed, multicenter, and large randomized controlled trials.
doi:10.1155/2013/842824
PMCID: PMC3771458  PMID: 24069058
4.  Quality assessment of reporting of randomization, allocation concealment, and blinding in traditional chinese medicine RCTs: A review of 3159 RCTs identified from 260 systematic reviews 
Trials  2011;12:122.
Background
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which are of poor quality tend to exaggerate the effect estimate and lead to wrong or misleading conclusions. The aim of this study is to assess the quality of randomization methods, allocation concealment and blinding within traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) RCTs, discuss issues identified for current TCM RCTs, and provide suggestions for quality improvement.
Methods
We searched Chinese Biomedical Database (CBM, 1978 to July 31, 2009) and the Cochrane Library (Issue 2, 2009) to collect TCM systematic reviews and meta-analyses according to inclusion/exclusion criteria, from which RCTs could be identified. The quality assessment involved whether the randomization methods, allocation concealment and blinding were adequate or not based the study reported. Stratified analyses were conducted of different types of diseases published in different journals (both Chinese and foreign) using different interventions. SPSS 15.0 software was used for statistic analyses.
Results
A total of 3159 RCTs were included, of which 2580 were published in Chinese journals and 579 in foreign journals. There were 381 (12%) RCTs which used adequate randomization methods; 207 (7%) RCTs which used adequate allocation concealment and 601 (19%) which used adequate blinding; there were 130 (4%) RCTs which both used adequate randomization methods and allocation concealment; and there were only 100 (3%) RCTs which used adequate randomization methods, allocation concealment, as well as blinding. In the RCTs published in foreign journals, the adequate randomization methods, allocation concealment and blinding accounted for a relatively large proportion (25%, 26%, and 60%, respectively) and increased with years, while in the RCTs published in Chinese journals, only the adequate randomization methods improved over time. The quality of non-drug intervention (chiefly acupuncture) RCTs was higher than that of drug intervention RCTs. In drug intervention, the quality of listed drugs is higher than the others. The quality of all included RCTs of all types of diseases was generally poor and no studies that were large in size and of high quality were found.
Conclusion
The quality of the current TCM RCTs as judged by their publications is generally poor, especially those published in Chinese journals. In future, researchers of TCM RCTs should attach more importance to experimental design and methodological quality, receive relevant training, and improve reporting quality using the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement, so as to improve the quality of TCM clinical research and ensure truth and reliability of conclusions.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-122
PMCID: PMC3114769  PMID: 21569452
5.  The reporting quality, scientific rigor, and ethics of randomized placebo-controlled trials of traditional Chinese medicine compound formulations and the differences between Chinese and non-Chinese trials 
Background: An increasing number of randomized placebo-controlled trials involving traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compound formulations have been implemented worldwide.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the reporting quality, scientific rigor, and ethics of randomized placebo-controlled trials of TCM compound formulations and compare these differences between Chinese and non-Chinese trials.
Methods: English-language databases included the following: PubMed, OVID, EMBASE, and Science Citation Index Expanded. Chinese-language databases included the following: Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, Wanfang Database, Chinese Scientific and Technological Periodical Database, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure. All were searched from respective inception to March 2009 to identify randomized placebo-controlled trials involving TCM compound prescriptions. Two reviewers independently assessed the retrieved trials via a modified Consolidated Standard of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) checklist and some evaluation indices that embodied the TCM characteristics or the scientific rigor and ethics of placebo-controlled trials. Trial publishing time was divided into 3 intervals: phase 1 (≤1999); phase 2 (2000–2004); and phase 3 (2005–2009). The number and percentage of trials reporting each item and the corresponding differences between Chinese (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and non-Chinese (eg, Japan, United States, Australia, Korea, and United Kingdom) trials were calculated. Moreover, the influence of trial publishing time on the reporting of CONSORT items and the differences in the number of items reported for each time interval between Chinese and non-Chinese trials were assessed.
Results: A total of 324 trials from China and 51 trials from other countries were included. A mean of 39.7% of the CONSORT items across all Chinese trials and 50.2% of the items across all non-Chinese trials were reported. The number of the reported CONSORT items all increased over time in both groups and the gap between Chinese articles and non-Chinese articles gradually decreased. Additionally, of the 324 Chinese articles, 137 (42.28%) reported TCM syndrome type, 113 (34.88%) reported the diagnostic criteria of diseases for TCM, and 69 (21.30%) reported efficacy evaluation indices of TCM. Of the non-Chinese articles, 3 (5.88%) reported TCM syndrome type and 1 (1.96%) reported the diagnostic criteria of diseases and evaluation indices of efficacy for TCM. It was found that 45.37% and 6.17% of Chinese articles reported the standard intervention for the diseases being treated and the emergency plan, respectively, compared with 23.53% and 9.80% for the non-Chinese articles; 33.02% and 10.49% of Chinese articles reported informed consent and ethics committee approval, respectively, compared with 92.16% and 82.35% for the non-Chinese articles. With regard to placebo ethics, 38.89% of the Chinese trials and 23.53% of the non-Chinese trials found it would not be ethically acceptable to use placebo alone in the control group.
Conclusions: The data indicate that the reporting quality of the included trials on TCM compounds has improved over time, but still remains poor regardless of Chinese or non-Chinese trials. Across all trials, particularly Chinese trials, the reporting of the CONSORT items was inadequate (39.7%). The difference in the mean number of the reported CONSORT items between Chinese trials and non-Chinese trials narrowed from phase 1 (10.0 vs 13.8) to phase 3 (14.4 vs 17.4). Moreover, a large number of trials, especially non-Chinese trials (94.1%), were lacking syndrome differentiation of TCM. More importantly, in many placebo-controlled trials, especially Chinese trials, the use of placebo was not justified and was ethically contradictory.
doi:10.1016/j.curtheres.2010.02.001
PMCID: PMC3967323  PMID: 24683249
reporting quality; scientific rigor; ethics; traditional Chinese medicine compound formulation; placebo; randomized controlled trial; CONSORT statement
6.  Statins in the Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(8):e333.
Background
The efficacy of statin therapy in patients with established chronic heart failure (CHF) is a subject of much debate.
Methods and Findings
We conducted three systematic literature searches to assess the evidence supporting the prescription of statins in CHF. First, we investigated the participation of CHF patients in randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to evaluate the efficacy of statins in reducing major cardiovascular events and mortality. Second, we assessed the association between serum cholesterol and outcome in CHF. Finally, we evaluated the ability of statin treatment to modify surrogate endpoint parameters in CHF.
Using validated search strategies, we systematically searched PubMed for our three queries. In addition, we searched the reference lists from eligible studies, used the “see related articles” feature for key publications in PubMed, consulted the Cochrane Library, and searched the ISI Web of Knowledge for papers citing key publications.
Search 1 resulted in the retrieval of 47 placebo-controlled clinical statin trials involving more than 100,000 patients. CHF patients had, however, been systematically excluded from these trials. Search 2 resulted in the retrieval of eight studies assessing the relationship between cholesterol levels and outcome in CHF patients. Lower serum cholesterol was consistently associated with increased mortality. Search 3 resulted in the retrieval of 18 studies on the efficacy of statin treatment in CHF. On the whole, these studies reported favorable outcomes for almost all surrogate endpoints.
Conclusions
Since CHF patients have been systematically excluded from randomized, controlled clinical cholesterol-lowering trials, the effect of statin therapy in these patients remains to be established. Currently, two large, randomized, placebo-controlled statin trials are under way to evaluate the efficacy of statin treatment in terms of reducing clinical endpoints in CHF patients in particular.
A systematic review found that patients with heart failure have been excluded from randomised controlled trials on the use of statins. Evidence from other studies on the effectiveness of statins for patients with heart failure is weak and conflicting.
Editors' Summary
Background.
When medical researchers test a drug—or some other treatment—for a particular medical condition, they often decide not to include in their study anyone who has, in addition to the disease they are interested in, certain other health problems. This is because including patients with two or more conditions can complicate the analysis of the results and make it hard to reach firm conclusions. However, excluding patients in this way can result in uncertainty as to whether treatments are effective for anyone who suffers from the disease in question, or just for people like those who took part in the research.
A great deal of research has been conducted with drugs known as statins, which lower cholesterol levels in the blood. (A raised level of cholesterol is known to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which causes heart attacks and strokes.) As a result of this research, statins have been accepted as effective and safe. They are now, in consequence, among the most commonly prescribed medicines. Heart failure, however, is not the same thing as a heart attack. It is the name given to the condition where the muscles of the heart have become weakened, most often as a result of aging, and the heart becomes gradually less efficient at pumping blood around the body. (Some people with heart failure live for many years, but 70% of those with the condition die within ten years.) It is common for people with cardiovascular disease also to have heart failure. Nevertheless, some researchers who have studied the effects of statins have made the decision not to include in their studies any patients with cardiovascular disease who, in addition, have heart failure.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers in this study were aware that patients with heart failure have often been excluded from statin trials. They felt it was important to assess the available evidence supporting the prescription of statins for such patients. Specifically, they wanted to find out the following: how often have patients with heart failure been included in statin trials, what evidence is available as to whether it is beneficial for patients with heart failure to have low cholesterol, and what evidence is there that prescribing statins helps these patients?
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They did not do any new work involving patients. Instead, they did a very thorough search for all relevant studies of good quality that had already been published and they reviewed the results. “Randomized clinical trials” (RCTs) are the most reliable type of medical research. The researchers found there had been 47 such trials (involving over 100,000 patients) on the use of statins for treating cardiovascular disease, but all these trials had excluded heart failure patients. They found eight studies (which were not RCTs) looking at cholesterol levels and heart failure. These studies found, perhaps surprisingly, that death rates were higher in those patients with heart failure who had low cholesterol. However, they also found 18 studies (again not RCTs) on the use of statins in patients with heart failure. These 18 studies seemed to suggest that statins were of benefit to the patients who received them.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The evidence for or against prescribing statins for people with heart failure is limited, conflicting, and unclear. Further research involving RTCs is necessary. (Two such trials are known to be in progress.)
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030333.
General information about statins is available from the Web site of Patient UK
The American Heart Association Web site is a good source of information about all types of heart disease, including heart attacks and heart failure
For a definition of randomized controlled trials see Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit
More detailed information about the quality of evidence from medical research may be found in the James Lind Library
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030333
PMCID: PMC1551909  PMID: 16933967
7.  Acupuncture for glaucoma 
Background
Glaucoma is a multifactorial optic neuropathy characterized by an acquired loss of retinal ganglion cells at levels beyond normal age-related loss and corresponding atrophy of the optic nerve. Although many treatments are available to manage glaucoma, glaucoma is a chronic condition. Some patients may seek complementary or alternative medicine approaches such as acupuncture to supplement their regular treatment. The underlying plausibility of acupuncture is that disorders related to the flow of Chi (the traditional Chinese concept translated as vital force or energy) can be prevented or treated by stimulating relevant points on the body surface.
Objectives
The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in people with glaucoma.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group Trials Register) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 12), Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE Daily, Ovid OLDMEDLINE (January 1946 to January 2013), EMBASE (January 1980 to January 2013), Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences (LILACS) (January 1982 to January 2013), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) (January 1937 to January 2013), ZETOC (January 1993 to January 2013), Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED) (January 1985 to January 2013), the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) (www.controlled-trials.com), ClinicalTrials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov), the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (IC-TRP) (www.who.int/ictrp/search/en) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site (NCCAM) (http://nccam.nih.gov). We did not use any language or date restrictions in the search for trials. We last searched the electronic databases on 8 January 2013 with the exception of NCCAM which was last searched on 14 July 2010. We also handsearched Chinese medical journals at Peking Union Medical College Library in April 2007.
We searched the Chinese Acupuncture Trials Register, the Traditional Chinese Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (TCMLARS), and the Chinese Biological Database (CBM) for the original review; we did not search these databases for the 2013 review update.
Selection criteria
We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in which one arm of the study involved acupuncture treatment.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently evaluated the search results and then full text articles against the eligibility criteria. We resolved discrepancies by discussion.
Main results
We included one completed and one ongoing trial, and recorded seven trials awaiting assessment for eligibility. These seven trials were written in Chinese and were identified from a systematic review on the same topic published in a Chinese journal. The completed trial compared auricular acupressure- a nonstandard acupuncture technique- with the sham procedure for glaucoma. This trial is rated at high risk of bias for masking of outcome assessors, unclear risk of bias for selective outcome reporting, and low risk of bias for other domains. The difference in intraocular pressure (measured in mm Hg) in the acupressure group was significantly less than that in the sham group at four weeks (−3.70, 95% confidence interval [CI] −7.11 to −0.29 for the right eye; −4.90, 95% CI −8.08 to −1.72 for the left eye), but was not statistically different at any other follow-up time points, including the longest follow-up time at eight weeks. No statistically significant difference in visual acuity was noted at any follow-up time points. The ongoing trial was registered with the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) of the World Health Organization. To date this trial has not recruited any participants.
Authors’ conclusions
At this time, it is impossible to draw reliable conclusions from available data to support the use of acupuncture for the treatment of glaucoma. Because of ethical considerations, RCTs comparing acupuncture alone with standard glaucoma treatment or placebo are unlikely to be justified in countries where the standard of care has already been established. Because most glaucoma patients currently cared for by ophthalmologists do not use nontraditional therapy, clinical practice decisions will have to be based on physician judgments and patient preferences, given this lack of data in the literature. Inclusion of the seven Chinese trials in future updates of this review may change our conclusions.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006030.pub3
PMCID: PMC4260653  PMID: 23728656
Acupuncture Therapy [*methods]; Acupuncture, Ear; Glaucoma [*therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Humans
8.  Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Traditional Chinese Medicine Must Search Chinese Databases to Reduce Language Bias 
Systematic reviews (SRs) that fail to search non-English databases may miss relevant studies and cause selection bias. The bias may be particularly severe in SRs of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as most randomized controlled trials (RCT) in TCM are published and accessible only in Chinese. In this study we investigated how often Chinese databases were not searched in SRs of TCM, how many trials were missed, and whether a bias may occur if Chinese databases were not searched. We searched 5 databases in English and 3 in Chinese for RCTs of Chinese herbal medicine for coronary artery disease and found that 96.64% (115/119) eligible studies could be identified only from Chinese databases. In a random sample of 80 Cochrane reviews on TCM, we found that Chinese databases were only searched in 43 or 53.75%, in which almost all the included studies were identified from Chinese databases. We also compared SRs of the same topic and found that they may draw a different conclusion if Chinese databases were not searched. In conclusion, an overwhelmingly high percentage of eligible trials on TCM could only be identified in Chinese databases. Reviewers in TCM are suggested to search Chinese databases to reduce potential selection bias.
doi:10.1155/2013/812179
PMCID: PMC3816048  PMID: 24223063
9.  Assessment of the Reporting Quality of Randomized Controlled Trials on the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus with Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70586.
Background
After the publication of the CONSORT 2010 statement, few studies have been conducted to assess the reporting quality of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on treatment of diabetes mellitus with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) published in Chinese journals.
Objective
To investigate the current situation of the reporting quality of RCTs in leading medical journals in China with the CONSORT 2010 statement as criteria.
Methods
The China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) electronic database was searched for RCTs on the treatment of diabetes mellitus with TCM published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional & Western Medicine, and the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica from January to December 2011. We excluded trials reported as “animal studies”, “in vitro studies”, “case studies”, or “systematic reviews”. The CONSORT checklist was applied by two independent raters to evaluate the reporting quality of all eligible trials after discussing and comprehending the items thoroughly. Each item in the checklist was graded as either “yes” or “no” depending on whether it had been reported by the authors.
Results
We identified 27 RCTs. According to the 37 items in the CONSORT checklist, the average reporting percentage was 45.0%, in which the average reporting percentage for the “title and abstract”, the “introduction”, the “methods”, the “results”, the “discussion” and the “other information” was 33.3%, 88.9%, 36.4%, 54.4%, 71.6% and 14.8%, respectively. In the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional & Western Medicine, and the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica the average reporting percentage was 42.2%, 56.8%, and 46.0%, respectively.
Conclusions
The reporting quality of RCTs in these three journals was insufficient to allow readers to assess the validity of the trials. We recommend that editors require authors to use the CONSORT statement when reporting their trial results as a condition of publication.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070586
PMCID: PMC3722156  PMID: 23894675
10.  Chinese patent medicines for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials 
Background
Many Chinese patent medicines (CPMs) have been authorized by the Chinese State of Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of the common cold. A number of clinical trials have been conducted and published. However, there is no systematic review or meta-analysis on their efficacy and safety for the common cold to justify their clinical use.
Methods
We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, SinoMed, CNKI, VIP, China Important Conference Papers Database, China Dissertation Database, and online clinical trial registry websites for published and unpublished randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of CPMs for the common cold till 31 March 2013. Revman 5.2 software was used for data analysis with effect estimate presented as relative risk (RR) and mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results
A total of five RCTs were identified. All of the RCTs were of high risk of bias with flawed study design and poor methodological quality. All RCTs included children aged between 6 months to 14 years. Results of individual trials showed that Shuanghuanglian oral liquid (RR 4.00; 95% CI: 2.26 to 7.08), and Xiaoer Resuqing oral liquid (RR 1.43; 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.77) had higher cure rates compared with antivirus drugs. Most of the trials did not report adverse events, and the safety of CPMs was still uncertain.
Conclusions
Some CPMs showed a potential positive effect for the common cold on cure rate. However, due to the poor methodology quality and the defects in the clinical design of the included RCTs, such as the lack of placebo controlled trials, the inappropriate comparison intervention and outcome measurement, the confirmative conclusions on the beneficial effect of CPMs for the common cold could not be drawn.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-273
PMCID: PMC4129119  PMID: 25074623
Common cold; Traditional Chinese medicine; Chinese patent medicine; Randomized controlled trial; Systematic review
11.  Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials 
Abstract
Background
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is popular for treatment of fibromyalgia (FM) although there is a lack of comprehensive evaluation of current clinical evidence for TCM's therapeutic effect and safety.
Objective
To review systematically the beneficial and harmful effects of TCM therapies for FM.
Methods
We searched six English and Chinese electronic databases for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on TCM for treatment of FM. Two authors extracted data and assessed the trial quality independently. RevMan 5 software was used for data analyses with an effect estimate presented as mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results
Twenty-five RCTs were identified with 1516 participants for this review. Seven trials (28%) were evaluated as having a low risk of bias and the remaining trials were identified as being as unclear or having a high risk of bias. Overall, ten trials were eligible for the meta-analysis, and data from remaining 15 trials were synthesized qualitatively. Acupuncture reduced the number of tender points (MD, –3.21; 95% CI –4.23 to –2.11; p < 0.00001, I2 = 0%), and pain scores compared with conventional medications (MD, –1.78; 95% CI, –2.24 to –1.32; p < 0.00001; I2 = 0%). Acupuncture showed no significant effect, with a random-effect model, compared with sham acupuncture (MD, –0.55; 95% CI, –1.35–0.24; p = 0.17; I2 = 69%), on pain reduction. A combination of acupuncture and cupping therapy was better than conventional medications for reducing pain (MD, –1.66; 95% CI, –2.14 to –1.19; p < 0.00001; I2 = 0%), and for improving depression scores with related to FM (MD, –4.92; 95% CI, –6.49 to –3.34; p < 0.00001; I2 = 32%). Other individual trials demonstrated positive effects of Chinese herbal medicine on pain reduction compared with conventional medications. There were no serious adverse effects reported that were related to TCM therapies in these trials.
Conclusions
TCM therapies appear to be effective for treating FM. However, further large, rigorously designed trials are warranted because of insufficient methodological rigor in the included trials.
doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0599
PMCID: PMC3110829  PMID: 20423209
12.  A systematic review of Chinese randomized clinical trials of SSRI treatment of depression 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14(1):245.
Background
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have become the most frequently used antidepressants in China in recent decades. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the efficacy and tolerability of SSRIs in Chinese studies and the quality of Chinese randomized controlled trials.
Methods
Major Western and Chinese electronic databases were searched for double-blind, parallel group randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing SSRIs (fluoxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, or sertraline) with other antidepressants such as SSRI, Selective Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI), tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and/or placebo. Response, remission, and dropout rates due to side effects were defined as primary outcomes. Mean total Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression (HAMD) scores at endpoint, overall dropout rates and total Treatment Emergent Symptom Scale (TESS) scores were defined as secondary outcomes. Data were combined with random effects models. Risk of bias was assessed by the Cochrane evaluation tool. Quality of reports was assessed by the fulfilment of Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trial (CONSORT) items.
Results
A total of 71 studies were included. Only one study was listed in both Chinese and Western databases. SSRIs were found to be more effective than TCAs. No significant differences were observed regarding dropout rates due to side effects. Using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, adequate methods of sequence generation were described in 16 (23%) studies. All authors failed to report trial registration. Informed consent, sources of funding, email address, protocol, and limitations were also not mentioned in most studies. However, reporting quality improved steadily between 1996 and 2013.
Conclusions
In light of the low trial quality, the findings of a significant advantage of SSRI over TCA in terms of response rate and remission rate should be replicated by large high-quality Chinese studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0245-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0245-4
PMCID: PMC4149207  PMID: 25159460
Systematic review; Risk of bias assessment; China; Antidepressants
13.  Systematic Review on the Efficacy and Safety of Herbal Medicines for Vascular Dementia 
We present a systematic review of existing research that aims to assess the efficacy and safety of herbal medications (HM), as either monotherapy or adjunct to orthodox medications (OM), mainly comprised of cholinesterase inhibitors, for vascular dementia (VaD). We included 47 studies conducted in mainland China, each testing different HM. Of 43 HM monotherapy studies, 37 reported HM to be significantly better than OM or placebo; six reported similar efficacy between HM and OM. All four HM adjuvant studies reported significant efficacy. No major adverse events for HM were reported. Heterogeneity in diagnostic criteria, interventions and outcome measures hindered comprehensive data analysis. Studies suggested that HM can be a safe and effective treatment for VaD, either alone or in conjunction with OM. However, methodological flaws in the design of the studies limited the extent to which the results could be interpreted. Thirty most commonly used herbal constituents, including Rhizoma Chuanxiong (Chuanxiong in Chinese), Radix Polygoni Multiflori (Heshouwu in Chinese) and Radix Astragali (Huangqi in Chinese). were ranked. Further multi-center trials with large sample sizes, high methodological quality and standardized HM ingredients are necessary for clinical recommendations to be made.
doi:10.1155/2012/426215
PMCID: PMC3250997  PMID: 22235231
14.  Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of recurrent miscarriage: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials 
Background
Traditional Chinese medicine has been widely used for the treatment of recurrent miscarriage in China and other Asian countries for long time. We conducted this review to systematically summarize the evidences of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) for the prevention and treatment of recurrent miscarriage in randomized trials, and evaluate the effectiveness and safety of CHM compared with placebo or conventional medicine.
Methods
We searched studies in PubMed, ClinicalTrials, the Cochrane Library, CNKI, SinoMed and VIP databases until December, 2012. Randomized trials on CHM alone or in combination with conventional medicine for recurrent miscarriage compared with placebo or conventional medicine were included. We evaluated the methodological quality of each included trials using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.
Results
A total of 41 RCTs (3660 participants) were included. The majority of trials had a high or unclear risk of bias. CHM used alone or plus progesterone-based treatment showed superior effect over progesterone-based treatment in improving live birth rate and embryonic developmental state (measured by B ultrasound). However, there is substantial heterogeneity within each subgroup analysis (I2 ranging from 35% to 71%). CHM plus progesterone and hCG-based treatment was superior to progesterone and hCG-based treatment in improving the embryonic developmental state, but not live birth rate. No severe adverse events were reported in relation to CHM.
Conclusions
Some Chinese herbal medicines or in combination with progesterone-based treatment demonstrated potentially beneficial effect in improving live birth rate and embryonic developmental state for women with recurrent miscarriage. However, due to the substantial heterogeneity among the herbal interventions and limitations of methodological quality of the included trials, it is not possible to recommend any specific CHMs for recurrent miscarriage. Further rigorous clinical trials are warranted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CHM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-320
PMCID: PMC4225605  PMID: 24245671
Chinese herbal medicine; Recurrent miscarriage; Systematic review; Randomized clinical trials
15.  Evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration for Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies 
Background
The Cochrane Collaboration, an international not-for-profit organization that prepares and maintains systematic reviews of randomized trials of health care therapies, has produced reviews summarizing much of the evidence on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Our objective was to review the evidence base according to Cochrane systematic reviews.
Methods
In order to detect reviews focusing on TCM, we searched the titles and abstracts of all reviews in Issue 4, 2008 of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. For each review, we extracted data on the number of trials included and the total number of participants. We provided an indication of the strength of the review findings by assessing the reviewers’ abstract conclusions statement. We supplemented our assessment of the abstract conclusions statements with a listing of the comparisons and outcomes showing statistically significant meta-analyses results.
Results
We identified 70 Cochrane systematic reviews of TCM, primarily acupuncture (n = 26) and Chinese herbal medicine (n = 42), and 1 each of moxibustion and t’ai chi. Nineteen (19) of 26 acupuncture reviews and 22/42 herbal medicine reviews concluded that there was not enough good quality trial evidence to make any conclusion about the efficacy of the evaluated treatment, while the remaining 7 acupuncture and 20 herbal medicine reviews and each of the moxibustion and t’ai chi reviews indicated a suggestion of benefit, which was qualified by a caveat about the poor quality and quantity of studies. Most reviews included many distinct interventions, controls, outcomes, and populations, and a large number of different comparisons were made, each with a distinct forest plot.
Conclusions
Most Cochrane systematic reviews of TCM are inconclusive, due specifically to the poor methodology and heterogeneity of the studies reviewed. Some systematic reviews provide preliminary evidence of Chinese medicine’s benefits to certain patient populations, underscoring the importance and appropriateness of further research. These preliminary findings should be considered tentative and need to be confirmed with rigorous randomized controlled trials.
doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0414
PMCID: PMC2856612  PMID: 19757977
16.  Evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration for Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies 
Abstract
Background
The Cochrane Collaboration, an international not-for-profit organization that prepares and maintains systematic reviews of randomized trials of health care therapies, has produced reviews summarizing much of the evidence on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Our objective was to review the evidence base according to Cochrane systematic reviews.
Methods
In order to detect reviews focusing on TCM, we searched the titles and abstracts of all reviews in Issue 4, 2008 of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. For each review, we extracted data on the number of trials included and the total number of participants. We provided an indication of the strength of the review findings by assessing the reviewers' abstract conclusions statement. We supplemented our assessment of the abstract conclusions statements with a listing of the comparisons and outcomes showing statistically significant meta-analyses results.
Results
We identified 70 Cochrane systematic reviews of TCM, primarily acupuncture (n = 26) and Chinese herbal medicine (n = 42), and 1 each of moxibustion and t'ai chi. Nineteen (19) of 26 acupuncture reviews and 22/42 herbal medicine reviews concluded that there was not enough good quality trial evidence to make any conclusion about the efficacy of the evaluated treatment, while the remaining 7 acupuncture and 20 herbal medicine reviews and each of the moxibustion and t'ai chi reviews indicated a suggestion of benefit, which was qualified by a caveat about the poor quality and quantity of studies. Most reviews included many distinct interventions, controls, outcomes, and populations, and a large number of different comparisons were made, each with a distinct forest plot.
Conclusions
Most Cochrane systematic reviews of TCM are inconclusive, due specifically to the poor methodology and heterogeneity of the studies reviewed. Some systematic reviews provide preliminary evidence of Chinese medicine's benefits to certain patient populations, underscoring the importance and appropriateness of further research. These preliminary findings should be considered tentative and need to be confirmed with rigorous randomized controlled trials.
doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0414
PMCID: PMC2856612  PMID: 19757977
17.  Quality of reporting of trial abstracts needs to be improved: using the CONSORT for abstracts to assess the four leading Chinese medical journals of traditional Chinese medicine 
Trials  2010;11:75.
Background
Due to language limitations, the abstract of journal article may be the only way for people of non-Chinese speaking countries to know about trials in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, little is known about the reporting quality of these trial abstracts. Our study is to assess the reporting quality of abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCT) published in four leading Chinese medical journals of TCM, and to identify any differences in reporting between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract publication.
Method
Two reviewers hand-searched the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica and the Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion for all abstracts of RCTs published between 2006 and 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the reporting quality of the Chinese and English version of all eligible abstracts based on a modified version of the CONSORT for reporting randomised trials in journal and conference abstracts (CONSORT for abstracts).
Results
We identified a total of 345 RCTs of TCM with both a Chinese and English abstract. More than half of Chinese abstracts reported details of the trial participants (68%; 234/345), control group intervention (52%; 179/345), the number of participants randomized (73%; 253/345) and benefits when interpreting the trial results (55%; 190/345). Reporting of methodological quality or key features of trial design and trial results were poor; only 2% (7/345) included details of the trial design, 3% (11/345) defined the primary outcome, 5% (17/345) described the methods of random sequence generation, and only 4% (13/345) reported the number of participants analyzed. No abstracts provided details on allocation concealment and trial registration. The percentage agreement in reporting (between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract) ranged from 84% to 100% across individual checklist item.
Conclusion
The reporting quality of abstracts of RCTs published in these four TCM journals needs to be improved. Since none of the four journals adopted CONSORT for Abstracts, we hope that the introduction and adoption of CONSORT for Abstracts by TCM journals will lead to an improvement in reporting quality.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-75
PMCID: PMC2911423  PMID: 20615225
18.  Astragalus Injection for Hypertensive Renal Damage: A Systematic Review 
Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of astragalus injection (a traditional Chinese patent medicine) for patients with renal damage induced by hypertension according to the available evidence. Methods. We searched MEDLINE, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese VIP Information, China Biology Medicine (CBM), and Chinese Medical Citation Index (CMCI), and the date of search starts from the first of database to August 2011. No language restriction was applied. We included randomized controlled trials testing astragalus injection against placebo or astragalus injection plus antihypertensive drugs against antihypertensive drugs. Study selection, data extraction, quality assessment, and data analyses were conducted according to the Cochrane review standards. Results. 5 randomized trials (involving 429 patients) were included and the methodological quality was evaluated as generally low. The pooled results showed that astragalus injection was more effective in lowering β2-microglobulin (β2-MG), microalbuminuria (mAlb) compared with placebo, and it was also superior to prostaglandin in lowering blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine clearance rate (Ccr). There were no adverse effects reported in the trials from astragalus injection. Conclusions. Astragalus injection showed protective effects in hypertensive renal damage patients, although available studies are not adequate to draw a definite conclusion due to low quality of included trials. More rigorous clinical trials with high quality are warranted to give high level of evidence.
doi:10.1155/2012/929025
PMCID: PMC3345783  PMID: 22577466
19.  Acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome 
Background
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, costly, and difficult to treat disorder that impairs health-related quality of life and work productivity. Evidence-based treatment guidelines have been unable to provide guidance on the effects of acupuncture for IBS because the only previous systematic review included only small, heterogeneous and methodologically unsound trials.
Objectives
The primary objectives were to assess the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for treating IBS.
Search methods
MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, and the Chinese databases Sino-Med, CNKI, and VIP were searched through November 2011.
Selection criteria
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture, other active treatments, or no (specific) treatment, and RCTs that evaluated acupuncture as an adjuvant to another treatment, in adults with IBS were included.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently assessed the risk of bias and extracted data. We extracted data for the outcomes overall IBS symptom severity and health-related quality of life. For dichotomous data (e.g. the IBS Adequate Relief Question), we calculated a pooled relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for substantial improvement in symptom severity after treatment. For continuous data (e.g. the IBS Severity Scoring System), we calculated the standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% CI in post-treatment scores between groups.
Main results
Seventeen RCTs (1806 participants) were included. Five RCTs compared acupuncture versus sham acupuncture. The risk of bias in these studies was low.We found no evidence of an improvement with acupuncture relative to sham (placebo) acupuncture for symptom severity (SMD-0.11, 95%CI −0.35 to 0.13; 4 RCTs; 281 patients) or quality of life (SMD = −0.03, 95%CI −0.27 to 0.22; 3 RCTs; 253 patients). Sensitivity analyses based on study quality did not change the results. A GRADE analysis indicated that the overall quality of the evidence for the primary outcomes in the sham controlled trials was moderate due to sparse data. The risk of bias in the four Chinese language comparative effectiveness trials that compared acupuncture with drug treatment was high due to lack of blinding. The risk of bias in the other studies that did not use a sham control was high due to lack of blinding or inadequate methods used for randomization and allocation concealment or both. Acupuncture was significantly more effective than pharmacological therapy and no specific treatment. Eighty-four per cent of patients in the acupuncture group had improvement in symptom severity compared to 63% of patients in the pharmacological treatment group (RR 1.28, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.45; 5 studies, 449 patients). A GRADE analysis indicated that the overall quality of the evidence for this outcome was low due to a high risk of bias (no blinding) and sparse data. Sixty-three per cent of patients in the acupuncture group had improvement in symptom severity compared to 34% of patients in the no specific therapy group (RR 2.11, 95% CI 1.18 to 3.79; 2 studies, 181 patients). There was no statistically significant difference between acupuncture and Bifidobacterium (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.27; 2 studies; 181 patients) or between acupuncture and psychotherapy (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.26; 1 study; 100 patients). Acupuncture as an adjuvant to another Chinese medicine treatment was significantly better than the other treatment alone. Ninety-three per cent of patients in the adjuvant acupuncture group improved compared to 79% of patients who received Chinese medicine alone (RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.33; 4 studies; 466 patients). There was one adverse event (i.e. acupuncture syncope) associated with acupuncture in the 9 trials that reported this outcome, although relatively small sample sizes limit the usefulness of these safety data.
Authors’ conclusions
Sham-controlled RCTs have found no benefits of acupuncture relative to a credible sham acupuncture control for IBS symptom severity or IBS-related quality of life. In comparative effectiveness Chinese trials, patients reported greater benefits from acupuncture than from two antispasmodic drugs (pinaverium bromide and trimebutine maleate), both of which have been shown to provide a modest benefit for IBS. Future trials may help clarify whether or not these reportedly greater benefits of acupuncture relative to pharmacological therapies are due entirely to patients’ preferences for acupuncture or greater expectations of improvement on acupuncture relative to drug therapy.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005111.pub3
PMCID: PMC3718572  PMID: 22592702
*Acupuncture Therapy; Irritable Bowel Syndrome [*therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Humans
20.  Individually integrated traditional chinese medicine approach in the management of knee osteoarthritis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:160.
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is considered a major public health issue causing chronic disability worldwide with the increasing number of aging people. In China and increasingly worldwide, many sufferers with knee OA are using complementary and alternative medicine including herbal drug, herbal patch, acupuncture and Tuina etc., to alleviate their symptoms. However, evidence gathered from systematic reviews or randomized controlled trials (RCT) has only validated acupuncture for the management of osteoarthritic pain. Moreover, such Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods above are commonly used in an integrative way. This trial is aimed to compare the efficacy of an individually integrated TCM approach in the management of knee OA with other single treatments as parallel randomized controls.
Methods/design
Five teaching hospitals will participate in this randomized controlled trial. 500 participants, 100 in each hospital, will be randomly assigned to receive oral administration of a Chinese herbal drug (counter osteophytes capsule), topical use of a Chinese herbal patch (Fufnag Zijin patch), acupuncture, Tuina and the individually integrated TCM approach. The individually integrated TCM approach consists of basic treatment of oral counter osteophytes capsule, variable use of Tuina, acupuncture and a herbal patch based on the severity of the patient's symptoms.
The interventions are given for a period of 4 weeks. The primary outcome measure is the self-reported total score using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Secondary outcome measures include patient and investigator global assessment of response to treatment, patient and investigator global assessment of OA condition, WOMAC pain, stiffness, and physical function subscales, short-form 36 (SF-36) and TCM assessment of OA condition measured by syndromes questionnaire. Mixed models and sensitivity analysis will be used for the statistical analysis.
Discussion
The trial is designed to test the hypothesis that an individually integrated TCM approach is more effective than four treatment modalities used separately. The major limitation of this study is lack of placebo control and of double blinding.
Trial Registration
Chinese Cochrane Center ChiCTR-TRC-00000176
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-160
PMCID: PMC3141532  PMID: 21696615
21.  Effects of Huangqi and bear bile on recurrent parotitis in children: a new clinical approach*  
Objective: To evaluate the pharmacological effects of traditional Chinese medicine, bear bile capsule and Huangqi granule, on recurrent parotitis in children. Methods: In this prospective, controlled, and randomized study, a total of 151 young children were divided into three groups: Group A included massaging the children’s parotid region and melting vitamin C in their mouth daily; Group B included swallowing bear bile capsule and Huangqi granule daily; and Group C included massages and vitamin C as prescribed in Group A, and traditional Chinese medicine as prescribed in Group B. Children were treated individually for one month and then a follow-up study was conducted for 1 to 3.5 years. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Ridit analysis were employed for statistical analysis. Results: The recurrence rate decreased in every group, but was significantly more in Groups B and C when compared to Group A. The recurrences significantly decreased (P<0.01) in Group B and their recovery rate was as high as 63%, significantly better than those of the other groups (P<0.01). Conclusions: Huangqi and bear bile could be a novel clinical approach for treating recurrent parotitis in children.
doi:10.1631/jzus.B1200072
PMCID: PMC3596577  PMID: 23463769
Juvenile recurrent parotitis; Therapy; Pediatrics; Traditional Chinese medicine; Prospective study
22.  Potential effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine for cardiac syndrome X (CSX): a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background
Treatment of cardiac syndrome X with unknown pathological mechanism remains a big challenge for clinicians. Complementary and alternative medicine may bring a new choice for its management. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical effects of traditional Chinese medicine on cardiac syndrome X patients.
Methods
We systematically searched databases such as Cochrane CENTRAL, PubMed, EMBASE, CBM, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang and VIP, and handsearched relevant journals to identify randomized controlled trials. Following the steps of systematic review recommended by the Cochrane group, we assessed the quality of included studies, extracted valid data and undertook meta-analysis.
Results
Twenty one moderate-to low-quality randomized controlled trials involving 1143 patients were included. The results showed that traditional Chinese medicine could improve angina [OR=1.34, 95% CI: 1.2 to 1.50], electrocardiogram (ECG), endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels, prolong exercise duration in treadmill tests, and reduce angina frequency per week compared with routine treatment. No other side effect was reported except two cases of stomach pain.
Conclusion
Compared with conventional treatment, traditional Chinese medicine shows the potential of optimizing symptomatic outcomes and improving ECG and exercise duration. The efficacy of TCM may find explanation in its pharmacological activity of adjusting the endothelial function. TCM, as a kind of alternative and complementary medicine, may provide another choice for CSX patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-62
PMCID: PMC3662595  PMID: 23497135
23.  The potential contributions of traditional Chinese medicine to emergency medicine 
BACKGROUND:
Despite the fact that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been developed and used to treat acute and urgent illness for many thousands of years. TCM has been widely perceived in western societies that TCM may only be effective to treat chronic diseases. The aim of this article is to provide some scientific evidence regarding the application of TCM in emergency medicine and its future potential.
METHODS:
Multiple databases (PubMed, ProQuest, Academic Search Elite and Science Direct) were searched using the terms: Traditional Chinese Medicine/ Chinese Medicine, Emergency Medicine, China. In addition, three leading TCM Journals in China were searched via Oriprobe Information Services for relevant articles (published from 1990—2012). Particular attention was paid to those articles that are related to TCM treatments or combined medicine in dealing with intensive and critical care.
RESULTS:
TCM is a systematic traditional macro medicine. The clinical practice of TCM is guided by the TCM theoretical framework – a methodology founded thousands of years ago. As the methodologies between TCM and Biomedicine are significantly different, it provides an opportunity to combine two medicines, in order to achieve clinical efficacy. Nowadays, combined medicine has become a common clinical model particular in TCM hospitals in China.
CONCLUSIONS:
It is evident that TCM can provide some assistance in emergency although to combine them in practice is still its infant form and is mainly at TCM hospitals in China. The future effort could be put into TCM research, both in laboratories and clinics, with high quality designs, so that TCM could be better understood and then applied in emergency medicine.
doi:10.5847/wjem.j.issn.1920-8642.2013.02.002
PMCID: PMC4129829  PMID: 25215100
Traditional Chinese Medicine; Emergency medicine
24.  Chinese Medicine Shenfu Injection for Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. Heart failure (HF) is a global public health problem. Early literature studies manifested that Shenfu injection (SFI) is one of the most commonly used traditional Chinese patent medicine for HF in China. This article intended to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of SFI for HF. Methods. An extensive search was performed within 6 English and Chinese electronic database up to November 2011. Ninety-nine randomized controlled trails (RCTs) were collected, irrespective of languages. Two authors extracted data and assessed the trial quality independently. RevMan 5.0.2 was used for data analysis. Results. Compared with routine treatment and/or device support, SFI combined with routine treatment and/or device support showed better effect on clinical effect rate, mortality, heart rate, NT-proBNP and 6-minute walk distance. Results in ultrasonic cardiography also showed that SFI combined with routine treatment improved heart function of HF patients. There were no significant difference in blood pressure between SFI and routine treatment groups. Adverse events were reported in thirteen trails with thirteen specific symptoms, while no serious adverse effect was reported. Conclusion. SFI appear to be effective for treating HF. However, further rigorously designed RCTs are warranted because of insufficient methodological rigor in the majority of included trials.
doi:10.1155/2012/713149
PMCID: PMC3348640  PMID: 22611430
25.  Herbal medicines for viral myocarditis 
Background
Herbal medicines are being used for treating viral diseases including viral myocarditis, and many controlled trials have been done to investigate their efficacy.
Objectives
To assess the effects of herbal medicines on clinical and indirect outcomes in patients with viral myocarditis.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2009, MEDLINE (January 1966 - July 2009), EMBASE (January 1998 - July 2009), Chinese Biomedical Database (1979 - 2009), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1979 - 2009), Chinese VIP Information (1989 - 2009), Chinese Academic Conference Papers Database and Chinese Dissertation Database (1980 - 2009), AMED (1985 - 2009), LILACS accessed in July 2009 and the trials register of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field. We handsearched Chinese journals and conference proceedings. No language restrictions were applied.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials of herbal medicines (with a minimum of seven days treatment duration) compared with placebo, no intervention, or conventional interventions were included. Trials of herbal medicine plus conventional drug versus drug alone were also included. Only trials that reported adequate description of allocation sequence generation were included.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently extracted data and evaluated trial quality. Adverse effects information was collected from the trials.
Results
Fourteen randomised trials involving 1463 people were included. All trials were conducted and published in China. Quality of the trials was assessed to be low. No trial had diagnosis of viral myocarditis confirmed histologically, and only a few trials attempted to establish viral aetiology. Nine different herbal medicines were tested in the included trials. The trials reported electrocardiogram results, level of myocardial enzymes, cardiac function, symptoms, and adverse effects.
Astragalus membranaceus (either as an injection or granules) showed significant positive effects in symptom improvement, normalisation of electrocardiogram results, CPK levels, and cardiac function. Shengmai injection also showed significant effects in symptom improvement. Shengmai decoction triggered significant improvement in quality of life measured by SF-36. No serious adverse effects were reported.
Authors' conclusions
Some herbal medicines may lead to improvement of symptoms, ventricular premature beat, electrocardiogram, level of myocardial enzymes, and cardiac function in viral myocarditis. However, interpretation of these findings should be taken with care due to the low methodological quality, small sample size, and limited number of trials on individual herbs. Further robust trials are needed to explore the use of herbal medicines in viral myocarditis.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003711.pub3
PMCID: PMC3155696  PMID: 20614436

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