Non-Chinese herbal medicines for functional dyspepsia

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Abstract

Background: One-third of people with gastrointestinal disorders, including functional dyspepsia, use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, including herbal medicines. Objectives: The primary objective is to assess the effects of non-Chinese herbal medicines for the treatment of people with functional dyspepsia. Search methods: We searched the following electronic databases on 22 December 2022: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature, among other sources, without placing language restrictions. Selection criteria: We included RCTs comparing non-Chinese herbal medicines versus placebo or other treatments in people with functional dyspepsia. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened references, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias from trial reports. We used a random-effects model to calculate risk ratios (RRs) and mean differences (MDs). We created effect direction plots when meta-analysis was not possible, following the reporting guideline for Synthesis without Meta-analysis (SWiM). We used GRADE to assess the certainty of the evidence (CoE) for all outcomes. Main results: We included 41 trials with 4477 participants that assessed 27 herbal medicines. This review evaluated global symptoms of functional dyspepsia, adverse events and quality of life; however, some studies did not report these outcomes. STW5 (Iberogast) may moderately improve global symptoms of dyspepsia compared with placebo at 28 to 56 days; however, the evidence is very uncertain (MD -2.64, 95% CI -4.39 to -0.90; I2 = 87%; 5 studies, 814 participants; very low CoE). STW5 may also increase the improvement rate compared to placebo at four to eight weeks' follow-up (RR 1.55, 95% CI 0.98 to 2.47; 2 studies, 324 participants; low CoE). There was little to no difference in adverse events for STW5 compared to placebo (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.64; I2 = 0%; 4 studies, 786 participants; low CoE). STW5 may cause little to no difference in quality of life compared to placebo (no numerical data available, low CoE). Peppermint and caraway oil probably result in a large improvement in global symptoms of dyspepsia compared to placebo at four weeks (SMD -0.87, 95% CI -1.15 to -0.58; I2 = 0%; 2 studies, 210 participants; moderate CoE) and increase the improvement rate of global symptoms of dyspepsia (RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.30 to 1.81; I2 = 0%; 3 studies, 305 participants; moderate CoE). There may be little to no difference in the rate of adverse events between this intervention and placebo (RR 1.56, 95% CI 0.69 to 3.53; I2 = 47%; 3 studies, 305 participants; low CoE). The intervention probably improves the quality of life (measured on the Nepean Dyspepsia Index) (MD -131.40, 95% CI -193.76 to -69.04; 1 study, 99 participants; moderate CoE). Curcuma longa probably results in a moderate improvement global symptoms of dyspepsia compared to placebo at four weeks (MD -3.33, 95% CI -5.84 to -0.81; I2 = 50%; 2 studies, 110 participants; moderate CoE) and may increase the improvement rate (RR 1.50, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.11; 1 study, 76 participants; low CoE). There is probably little to no difference in the rate of adverse events between this intervention and placebo (RR 1.26, 95% CI 0.51 to 3.08; 1 study, 89 participants; moderate CoE). The intervention probably improves the quality of life, measured on the EQ-5D (MD 0.05, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.09; 1 study, 89 participants; moderate CoE). We found evidence that the following herbal medicines may improve symptoms of dyspepsia compared to placebo: Lafonesia pacari (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.14; 1 study, 97 participants; moderate CoE), Nigella sativa (SMD -1.59, 95% CI -2.13 to -1.05; 1 study, 70 participants; high CoE), artichoke (SMD -0.34, 95% CI -0.59 to -0.09; 1 study, 244 participants; low CoE), Boensenbergia rotunda (SMD -2.22, 95% CI -2.62 to -1.83; 1 study, 160 participants; low CoE), Pistacia lenticus (SMD -0.33, 95% CI -0.66 to -0.01; 1 study, 148 participants; low CoE), Enteroplant (SMD -1.09, 95% CI -1.40 to -0.77; 1 study, 198 participants; low CoE), Ferula asafoetida (SMD -1.51, 95% CI -2.20 to -0.83; 1 study, 43 participants; low CoE), ginger and artichoke (RR 1.64, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.13; 1 study, 126 participants; low CoE), Glycyrrhiza glaba (SMD -1.86, 95% CI -2.54 to -1.19; 1 study, 50 participants; moderate CoE), OLNP-06 (RR 3.80, 95% CI 1.70 to 8.51; 1 study, 48 participants; low CoE), red pepper (SMD -1.07, 95% CI -1.89 to -0.26; 1 study, 27 participants; low CoE), Cuadrania tricuspidata (SMD -1.19, 95% CI -1.66 to -0.72; 1 study, 83 participants; low CoE), jollab (SMD -1.22, 95% CI -1.59 to -0.85; 1 study, 133 participants; low CoE), Pimpinella anisum (SMD -2.30, 95% CI -2.79 to -1.80; 1 study, 107 participants; low CoE). The following may provide little to no difference compared to placebo: Mentha pulegium (SMD -0.38, 95% CI -0.78 to 0.02; 1 study, 100 participants; moderate CoE) and cinnamon oil (SMD 0.38, 95% CI -0.17 to 0.94; 1 study, 51 participants; low CoE); moreover, Mentha longifolia may increase dyspeptic symptoms (SMD 0.46, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.88; 1 study, 88 participants; low CoE). Almost all the studies reported little to no difference in the rate of adverse events compared to placebo except for red pepper, which may result in a higher risk of adverse events compared to placebo (RR 4.31, 95% CI 1.56 to 11.89; 1 study, 27 participants; low CoE). With respect to the quality of life, most studies did not report this outcome. When compared to other interventions, essential oils may improve global symptoms of dyspepsia compared to omeprazole. Peppermint oil/caraway oil, STW5, Nigella sativa and Curcuma longa may provide little to no benefit compared to other treatments. Authors' conclusions: Based on moderate to very low-certainty evidence, we identified some herbal medicines that may be effective in improving symptoms of dyspepsia. Moreover, these interventions may not be associated with important adverse events. More high-quality trials are needed on herbal medicines, especially including participants with common gastrointestinal comorbidities.

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Báez, G., Vargas, C., Arancibia, M., Papuzinski, C., & Franco, J. V. A. (2023). Non-Chinese herbal medicines for functional dyspepsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2023(6). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013323.pub2

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