Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chinese herbal remedy as good as methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis, study finds

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
A traditional Chinese herbal remedy used to relieve joint pain and inflammation works as well as methotrexate, a standard drug treatment that is frequently prescribed to control the symptoms of active rheumatoid arthritis, reveals research. Furthermore, combining the herbal remedy with methotrexate -- the disease modifying drug (DMARD) most commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis -- was more effective than treatment with methotrexate alone, the findings showed.

A traditional Chinese herbal remedy used to relieve joint pain and inflammation works as well as methotrexate, a standard drug treatment that is frequently prescribed to control the symptoms of active rheumatoid arthritis, reveals research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Furthermore, combining the herbal remedy with methotrexate -- the disease modifying drug (DMARD) most commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis -- was more effective than treatment with methotrexate alone, the findings showed.

Triptergium wilfordii Hook F, or TwHF for short, is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat joint pain, swelling, and inflammation, and is already approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in China.

The research team randomly assigned 207 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis to one of three treatment groups: methotrexate 12.5 mg once a week; or TwHF 20 mg three times a day; or a combination of the two over a period of 24 weeks.

The researchers wanted to find out which of these approaches would sufficiently alleviate symptoms to reach an ACR 50 response.

This indicates a 50% improvement in the number of tender or swollen joints and other criteria including pain, disability, and the doctor's assessment of disease severity. It's a measure defined by the American College of Rheumatology.

Most (174; 84%) of the participants completed the full 24 weeks of the trial. The proportion of patients achieving ACR 50 was almost 46.5% in those treated with methotrexate alone; 55% in those treated with TwHF alone; and just under 77% in those treated with both.

Similar clinically significant patterns of improvement in disease activity and remission rates also occurred among the three treatment groups.

There was little difference between the frequency or type of side effects experienced in the different treatment groups, although the number of women who developed irregular periods was slightly higher in those treated with TwHF.

More than 300 compounds have been identified in TwHF, including diterpenoids, which experimental research suggests can suppress genes controlling inflammation and dampen down the immune response, the authors point out.

And an extract of the root has recently been investigated for its potential to treat automimmune diseases and some cancers, say the researchers.

They caution that 24 weeks is too short a time to evaluate disease progression, and that the dose of methotrexate used in the trial is lower than that typically given to patients in the West.

But they suggest that TwHF could be a promising approach to the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis, particularly as not all patients respond to DMARDs, and because these drugs are expensive.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Q.-w. Lv, W. Zhang, Q. Shi, W.-j. Zheng, X. Li, H. Chen, Q.-j. Wu, W.-l. Jiang, H.-b. Li, L. Gong, W. Wei, H. Liu, A.-j. Liu, H.-t. Jin, J.-x. Wang, X.-m. Liu, Z.-b. Li, B. Liu, M. Shen, Q. Wang, X.-n. Wu, D. Liang, Y.-f. Yin, Y.-y. Fei, J.-m. Su, L.-d. Zhao, Y. Jiang, J. Li, F.-l. Tang, F.-c. Zhang, P. E. Lipsky, X. Zhang. Comparison of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F with methotrexate in the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (TRIFRA): a randomised, controlled clinical trial. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204807

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Chinese herbal remedy as good as methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414191455.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, April 14). Chinese herbal remedy as good as methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414191455.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Chinese herbal remedy as good as methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414191455.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins