Chinese herbal medicines for threatened miscarriage

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 01/2012; 5(5):CD008510. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008510.pub2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Threatened miscarriage occurs in 10% to 15% of all pregnancies. Vaginal spotting or bleeding during early gestation is common, with nearly half of those pregnancies resulting in pregnancy loss. To date, there is no effective preventive treatment for threatened miscarriage. Chinese herbal medicines have been widely used in Asian countries for centuries and have become a popular alternative to Western medicines in recent years. Many studies claim to show that they can prevent miscarriage. However, there has been no systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicines for threatened miscarriage.
To review the therapeutic effects of Chinese herbal medicines for the treatment of threatened miscarriage.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 January 2012), Chinese Biomedical Database (1978 to 31 January 2012), China Journal Net (1915 to 31 January 2012), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1915 to 31 January 2012), WanFang Database (1980 to 31 January 2012), Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (31 January 2012), EMBASE (1980 to 31 January 2012), CINAHL (31 January 2012), PubMed (1980 to 31 January 2012), Wiley InterScience (1966 to 31 January 2012), International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (31 January 2012) and reference lists of retrieved studies. We also contacted organisations, individual experts working in the field, and medicinal herb manufacturers.
Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials that compared Chinese herbal medicines (alone or combined with other pharmaceuticals) with placebo, no treatment (including bed rest), or other pharmaceuticals as treatments for threatened miscarriage.
Two review authors independently assessed all the studies for inclusion in the review, assessed risk of bias and extracted the data. Data were checked for accuracy.
In total, we included 44 randomised clinical trials with 5100 participants in the review.We did not identify any trials which used placebo or no treatment (including bed rest) as a control.The rate of effectiveness (continuation of pregnancy after 28 weeks of gestation) was not significantly different between the Chinese herbal medicines alone group compared with the group of women receiving Western medicines alone (average risk ratio (RR) 1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96 to 1.57; one trial, 60 women).Chinese herbal medicines combined with Western medicines were more effective than Western medicines alone to continue the pregnancy beyond 28 weeks of gestation (average RR 1.28; 95% CI 1.18 to 1.38; five trials, 550 women).
There was insufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicines alone for treating threatened miscarriage.A combination of Chinese herbal and Western medicines was more effective than Western medicines alone for treating threatened miscarriage. However, the quality of the included studies was poor. More high quality studies are necessary to further evaluate the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicines for threatened miscarriage.

Download full-text


Available from: Chi Chiu Wang, Oct 20, 2014
1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is unclear how safe the use of Chinese herbal medicine is during pregnancy and if the herbal medicines do any harm to pregnancy, embryo-fetal development and prenatal and post-natal growth. A large-scale preclinical study was conducted to detect the adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicines during pregnancy. Twenty of the most commonly used Chinese herbal medicines prescribed for pregnancy were selected and the crude extract was administered to pregnant mice at clinical doses during five different gestational stages, namely post-implantation, gastrulation, organogenesis, maturation and whole gestation periods. Maternal effects on side effects, weight loss, litter reduction, implantation failure and fetal resorption and perinatal effects on growth restriction, developmental delay, congenital malformations and post-natal mortality were determined. Adverse pregnancy outcomes were commonly observed after maternal exposure to the herbal medicines, particularly during early pregnancy. Major events included maternal and perinatal mortality were recorded. Maternal weight gain, embryo growth and post-natal weight gain were significantly decreased. Fetal resorption and skeletal malformations were significantly increased. Reproductive toxicity of Chinese herbal medicines commonly used during pregnancy was identified in mice. Caution should be taken in the clinical use of herbal medicines during pregnancy.
    Human Reproduction 05/2012; 27(8):2448-56. DOI:10.1093/humrep/des180 · 4.59 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cochrane reviews are considered by many to be the "gold standard" or the final word in medical conversation on a topic. We explored the eleven most relevant Cochrane reviews on herbal medicine and identified that frequently herbal medicines in the included studies had not been sufficiently well characterised. If data on the effects of the plant parts are unavailable, effects of co-active ingredients need to be considered and the plausibility of the study medications for the specific indications discussed. Effect sizes calculated from exploratory studies would be best used to determine the sample sizes required for future confirmatory studies, rather than as definitive reports of intervention effects. Reviews should be comprehensive, including discussion of putative adverse events and possible drug interactions. We suggest that the guidelines for preparing Cochrane reviews be revised and offer assistance in this task.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 06/2013; 2013:163412. DOI:10.1155/2013/163412 · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background. Miscarriage is a very common complication during early pregnancy. So far, clinical therapies have limitation in preventing the early pregnancy loss. Chinese Medicine, regarded as gentle, effective, and safe, has become popular and common as a complementary and alternative treatment for miscarriages. However, the evidence to support its therapeutic efficacy and safety is still very limited. Objectives and Methods. To summarize the clinical application of Chinese Medicine for pregnancy and provide scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of Chinese medicines for miscarriage, we located all the relevant pieces of literature on the clinical applications of Chinese Medicine for miscarriage and worked out this systematic review. Results. 339,792 pieces of literature were identified, but no placebo was included and only few studies were selected for systematic review and conducted for meta-analysis. A combination of Chinese medicines and Western medicines was more effective than Chinese medicines alone. No specific safety problem was reported, but potential adverse events by certain medicines were identified. Conclusions. Studies vary considerably in design, interventions, and outcome measures; therefore conclusive results remain elusive. Large scales of randomized controlled trials and more scientific evidences are still necessary to confirm the efficacy and safety of Chinese medicines during early pregnancy.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 02/2014; 2014:753856. DOI:10.1155/2014/753856 · 1.88 Impact Factor