Frequency and pattern of Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions for urticaria in Taiwan during 2009: Analysis of the national health insurance database

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Abstract

Background: Large-scale pharmaco-epidemiological studies of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) for treatment of urticaria are few, even though clinical trials showed some CHM are effective. The purpose of this study was to explore the frequencies and patterns of CHM prescriptions for urticaria by analysing the population-based CHM database in Taiwan.Methods: This study was linked to and processed through the complete traditional CHM database of the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan during 2009. We calculated the frequencies and patterns of CHM prescriptions used for treatment of urticaria, of which the diagnosis was defined as the single ICD-9 Code of 708. Frequent itemset mining, as applied to data mining, was used to analyse co-prescription of CHM for patients with urticaria.Results: There were 37,386 subjects who visited traditional Chinese Medicine clinics for urticaria in Taiwan during 2009 and received a total of 95,765 CHM prescriptions. Subjects between 18 and 35 years of age comprised the largest number of those treated (32.76%). In addition, women used CHM for urticaria more frequently than men (female:male = 1.94:1). There was an average of 5.54 items prescribed in the form of either individual Chinese herbs or a formula in a single CHM prescription for urticaria. Bai-Xian-Pi (Dictamnus dasycarpus Turcz) was the most commonly prescribed single Chinese herb while Xiao-Feng San was the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula. The most commonly prescribed CHM drug combination was Xiao-Feng San plus Bai-Xian-Pi while the most commonly prescribed triple drug combination was Xiao-Feng San, Bai-Xian-Pi, and Di-Fu Zi (Kochia scoparia).Conclusions: In view of the popularity of CHM such as Xiao-Feng San prescribed for the wind-heat pattern of urticaria in this study, a large-scale, randomized clinical trial is warranted to research their efficacy and safety. © 2013 Chien et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Chien, P. S., Tseng, Y. F., Hsu, Y. C., Lai, Y. K., & Weng, S. F. (2013). Frequency and pattern of Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions for urticaria in Taiwan during 2009: Analysis of the national health insurance database. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-209

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