RMIT University School of Health Sciences, Australia
Title: Chinese herbal medicine for atopic dermatitis: A systematic review
George Lenon has completed his Ph.D in 2004 from RMIT University. He is currently a lecturer of TCM as well as an avid researcher at RMIT University. His research focuses on atopic diseases and obesity. His works have been presented in numerous local and international conferences. He has published over 15 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, itching skin disease which highly impacts on quality-of-life. Increasingly, atopic dermatitis sufferers are turning to Chinese medicine. However, the current state of evidence of Chinese herbal medicine treatment for atopic dermatitis remains unknown. This study systematically evaluates the clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of oral Chinese herbal medicine for atopic dermatitis. Searches were conducted on major electronic databases using the keywords "randomized controlled trials", "atopic dermatitis", "traditional Chinese medicine", "traditional East Asian medicine", "herbal medicine", "Chinese herbal drugs", "medicinal plants", "phytotherapy", "Kampo medicine", and "Korean traditional medicine". Results were screened to include English/Chinese randomized controlled trials. Meta-analysis was conducted on suitable outcome measures. A total of 1014 articles were yielded from electronic searches. After screening, seven studies were included - one comparing Chinese herbal medicine and western medicine with western medicine alone; and six placebo-controlled trials. Treatment with integrated Chinese herbal medicine and western medicine was superior to western medicine alone; while significant treatment efficacy was shown in three placebo-controlled trials and two showed significantly reduced concurrent therapy with Chinese herbal medicine. No abnormalities in safety profile or severe adverse events were reported. Risk of bias assessment showed that the overall quality of studies were poor. Chinese herbal medicine was reported as well-tolerated and significantly improved symptom severity. However, the poor quality of studies denied valid conclusions to support its tolerability and routine use. Further studies addressing the methodological issues are warranted to determine the therapeutic benefits of Chinese herbal medicine for atopic dermatitis.