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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 31-50

Chinese herbal medicine for chemotherapy induced gastrointestinal side effects: A systematic review of randomized controlled trialsxs

1 Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Clinical Study Centre; School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China
2 Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
3 School of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
4 Chinese Medicine Department, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong SAR, China

Correspondence Address:
Zhao-Xiang Bian
3/F, Clinical Division, Jockey Club School of Chinese Medicine Building, 7 Baptist University Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.15806/j.issn.2311-8571.2016.0025

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Objective: To determine how safe and effective Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is in alleviating the nausea, vomiting, oral ulceration, diarrhea and constipation for cancer patients with chemotherapy. Methods: Data sources: A systematic review of Chinese and English articles using Ovid SP, CNKI, VIP Database and Traditional Chinese Medicine Database System. Study selection: Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for the prevention or treatment of any one of gastrointestinal side effects, namely nausea, vomiting, oral ulceration, diarrhea and constipation, of CHM with or without western medicine (WM) vs WM, placebo or no treatment were included. Data Extraction: Independent extraction of articles was first performed by four medical students using predefined data fields. Then, all data, including study quality indicators, was checked by two authors. Results: Eighty-six RCTs involving 7076 cancer patients were found and analyzed in this review. Because of the heterogeneity of study design and low overall methodological quality, only descriptive summaries were performed. Beneficial effects were found in some CHM interventions, regardless of being taken alone or taken with WM. Moreover, none of serious adverse effect was reported. However, same intervention had not been repeatedly investigated by different research teams. Conclusions: Implications of the analysis support the efficacy and safety of CHM for the management of gastrointestinal side effects. However, definite clinical recommendation for particular CHM intervention still cannot be made due to low methodological quality of included studies and lack of duplicated verification. Further large scale and high quality RCTs on the same CHM interventions are suggested.

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