Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, itching skin disease, and conventional therapies offer inadequate symptom management. Patients with AD are increasingly turning to Chinese medicine.
We systematically evaluated the clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of oral Chinese herbal medicine for AD.
Searches were conducted on major electronic databases using the following key words: “randomized controlled trials,” “atopic dermatitis,” “traditional Chinese medicine,” “traditional East Asian medicine,” “herbal medicine,” “Chinese herbal drugs,” “medicinal plants,” “phytotherapy,” “Kampo medicine,” and “Korean traditional medicine.” The results were screened to include English/Chinese randomized controlled trials. A metaanalysis was conducted on suitable outcome measures.
Seven randomized controlled trials were included (1 comparing Chinese herbal medicine and Western medicine with Western medicine alone; 6 comparing Chinese herbal medicine with placebo). Combined Chinese herbal medicine with Western medicine was superior to Western medicine alone. Three placebo controlled trials showed significant treatment efficacy and 2 showed significantly reduced concurrent therapy with Chinese herbal medicine. No abnormalities in safety profile or severe adverse events were reported.
A metaanalysis of all included studies could not be conducted because of study heterogeneity.
Chinese herbal medicine significantly improved symptom severity of AD and was reported as well tolerated. However, the poor quality of studies did not allow for valid conclusions to support its tolerability and routine use. Additional studies addressing the methodologic issues are warranted to determine the therapeutic benefit of Chinese herbal medicine for AD.
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American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.. Publié par Elsevier Masson SAS. Tous droits réservés.