Efficacy and Safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Meta-Analysis

Ji, Kun; Ma, Jianling; Wang, Liangmin; Li, Niuniu; Dong, Shangjuan; Shi, Liqing
February 2020
Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (eCAM);2/13/2020, p1
Academic Journal
Objective. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) on lung function and quality of life of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients by meta-analysis. Methods. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) related to TCM and IPF were searched on PubMed, EMBASE Cochrane Library, ClinicalTrials, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Database, Chin VIP Information (VIP), and Chinese Biomedical Database (CBM) until December 2018. Standard mean difference (SMD) and 95% CI were calculated for the measurements related to lung function (FEV1/FVC, FVC%, FEV1%, TLC%, DLCO% or DLCO, and VC%) and other parameters (PO2, 6MWD, and SGRQ) when comparing TCM treatment to the control group. Relative risk (RR) and 95% CI of adverse events (AEs) were calculated to assess the safety of TCM. Results. A total of 40 RCTs comparing TCM to western medicine (WM) and involving 3194 IPF patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. The pooled results showed that TCM treatment improved significantly PO2 (SMD = 0.80, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.06, p < 0.001), FEV1% (SMD = 0.57, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.71, p < 0.001), DLCO% (SMD = 0.38, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.48, p < 0.001), 6MWD (SMD = 0.70, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.84, p < 0.001) and other measurements and reduced SGRQ scores (SMD = −0.51, 95% CI −0.70 to −0.22, p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis of different study durations (3 months, ≥ 6 months) and comparison models (TCM vs. WM, TCM + WM vs. WM or TCM vs. placebo) showed similar results. No significant difference of risk of AEs was observed between both groups (RR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.27–1.60, p = 0.352). There was no obvious publication bias, and the pooled results were stable according to sensitivity analysis. Conclusion. To the best of our knowledge, the present study had the largest sample size. Our results indicated that TCM treatment may help provide benefit to the lung function, exercise capacity, and quality of life of IPF patients, alone or combined with WM, when compared to WM. More rigorous RCTs were needed in the future.


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