This systematic review evaluated the effects of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) plus routine pharmacotherapy (RP) on the objective outcome measures BODE index, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) in individuals with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Searches were conducted of six English and Chinese databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, CNKI and CQVIP) from their inceptions until 18th November 2013 for randomized controlled trials involving oral administration of CHM plus RP compared to the same RP, with BODE Index and/or 6MWT/D as outcomes. Twenty-five studies were identified. BODE Index was used in nine studies and 6MWT/D was used in 22 studies. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Weaknesses were identified in most studies. Six studies were judged as 'low' risk of bias for randomisation sequence generation. Twenty-two studies involving 1,834 participants were included in the meta-analyses. The main meta-analysis results showed relative benefits for BODE Index in nine studies (mean difference [MD] -0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.94, -0.47) and 6MWT/D in 17 studies (MD 54.61 meters, 95%CI 33.30, 75.92) in favour of the CHM plus RP groups. The principal plants used were Astragalus membranaceus, Panax ginseng and Cordyceps sinensis. A. membranaceus was used in combination with other herbs in 18 formulae in 16 studies. Detailed sub-group and sensitivity analyses were conducted. Clinically meaningful benefits for BODE Index and 6MWT were found in multiple studies. These therapeutic effects were promising but need to be interpreted with caution due to variations in the CHMs and RPs used and methodological weakness in the studies. These issues should be addressed in future trials. © 2014 Chen et al.
Chen, X., May, B., Di, Y. M., Zhang, A. L., Lu, C., Xue, C. C., & Lin, L. (2014, March 12). Oral Chinese herbal medicine combined with pharmacotherapy for stable COPD: A systematic review of effect on BODE index and six minute walk test. PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0091830