Clinical efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine for Wilson's disease: A systematic review of 9 randomized controlled trials

Department of Internal Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China.
Complementary therapies in medicine (Impact Factor: 1.55). 06/2012; 20(3):143-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.12.004
Source: PubMed


Wilson's disease is an autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism. Despite being treatable, there is no universally accepted treatment regimen. Currently, various Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs) are widely used in the treatment of Wilson's disease in China, but there is a lack of reliable scientific evidence for the effectiveness of such therapies. The objective of this systematic review is to assess the clinical efficacy and safety of CHM as an alternative or/and adjuvant therapy for Wilson's disease. A systematic literature search in different medical databases was performed to identify randomized controlled trials comparing CHM as monotherapy or CHM as adjuvant therapy with western conventional medical therapy in the treatment of Wilson's disease. A total of 687 participants were included in nine eligible studies. The main findings are that CHM as monotherapy or adjuvant therapy for Wilson's disease may be able to improve the clinical symptoms, to promote the urinary copper excretion, to ameliorate liver function and/or liver cirrhosis, and has fewer adverse effects in comparison with western conventional medication. Furthermore, CHM generally appeared to be safe and well tolerated in patients with Wilson's disease. However, the evidence presented in this review are insufficient to warrant a clinical recommendation due to the generally low methodological quality of the included studies. In conclusion, CHM seems to be beneficial and safe for Wilson's disease, but high-quality evidences are still needed to further evaluate this therapy. Therefore, additional well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials are needed.

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    • "Trials with inadequate sample sizes often run the risk of overestimating intervention benefits [48]. The results were likely to be underpowered [49]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is very common in people with diabetes. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) therapy has been developed for DPN empirically over the years. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy and safety of CHMs for patients suffering from DPN. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy and safety of CHM on DPN. Six databases were searched up to November 2012. The primary outcome measures were the absolute values or changing of motor or sensory nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and the secondary outcome measurements were clinical symptoms improvements and adverse events. The methodological quality was assessed by Jadad scale and the twelve criteria recommended by the Cochrane Back Review Group. One hundred and sixty-three studies claimed RCTs. Ten studies with 653 individuals were further identified based on the Jadad score ≥3. These 10 studies were all of high methodological quality with a low risk of bias. Meta-analysis showed the effects of NCV favoring CHMs when compared with western conventional medicines (WCM) (P<0.05 or P<0.01). There is a significant difference in the total efficacy rate between the two groups (P<0.001). Adverse effects were reported in all of the ten included studies, and well tolerated in all patients with DPN. Despite of the apparently positive findings and low risk of bias, it is premature to conclude the efficacy of CHMs for the treatment of DPN because of the high clinical heterogeneity and small sample sizes of the included studies. However, CHM therapy was safe for DPN. Further standardized preparation, large sample-size and rigorously designed RCTs are required.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In addition, no trials conducted pre-trial estimation of sample size, which indicated the lack of statistical power to ensure appropriate estimation of the therapeutic effect [63]. The results were likely to be underpowered [64]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Insomnia is a widespread human health problem, but there currently are the limitations of conventional therapies available. Suanzaoren decoction (SZRD) is a well known classic Chinese herbal prescription for insomnia and has been treating people’s insomnia for more than thousand years. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SZRD for insomnia. Methods A systematic literature search was performed for 6 databases up to July of 2012 to identify randomized control trials (RCTs) involving SZRD for insomniac patients. The methodological quality of RCTs was assessed independently using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Results Twelve RCTs with total of 1376 adult participants were identified. The methodological quality of all included trials are no more than 3/8 score. Majority of the RCTs concluded that SZRD was more significantly effective than benzodiazepines for treating insomnia. Despite these positive outcomes, there were many methodological shortcomings in the studies reviewed, including insufficient information about randomization generation and absence of allocation concealment, lack of blinding and no placebo control, absence of intention-to-treat analysis and lack of follow-ups, selective publishing and reporting, and small number of sample sizes. A number of clinical heterogeneity such as diagnosis, intervention, control, and outcome measures were also reviewed. Only 3 trials reported adverse events, whereas the other 9 trials did not provide the safety information. Conclusions Despite the apparent reported positive findings, there is insufficient evidence to support efficacy of SZRD for insomnia due to the poor methodological quality and the small number of trials of the included studies. SZRD seems generally safe, but is insufficient evidence to make conclusions on the safety because fewer studies reported the adverse events. Further large sample-size and well-designed RCTs are needed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "Most researches did not provide information on how the random allocation was generated and concealed. Based on a systematic review of 9 randomized controlled trials [60], TCM therapy are generally associated with better response and fewer adverse events. However, 8 out of the 9 randomized control trials mentioned above lacked blinding methods and none of them reported dropout. "
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    ABSTRACT: Wilson disease is an autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism. Diagnosis depends primarily on clinical features, biochemical parameters and the presence of the Kayser-Fleischer ring. Genetic analysis for mutations within ATP7B is a convincing diagnostic tool. The traditional treatment for WD includes chelation of excessive copper accumulation and reduction of copper intake. Medical therapy is effective but WD is not yet curable. Liver transplantation is especially helpful for patients who fail to respond to medical therapy or present with fulminant liver failure, although evaluation of its long-term effect are still in need.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Translational Neurodegeneration
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