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14-09-2011 | General practice | Article

Chinese traditional therapy ‘option for H1N1 influenza infection’

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: The Chinese traditional therapy maxingshigan-yinqiaosan reduces the time to resolution of fever in H1N1 influenza A virus infection, conclude Chinese researchers who suggest it may represent a viable treatment for the infection.

The antiviral agent oseltamivir is recommended by the World Health Organization and was widely used during the H1N1 influenza A pandemic, with reports suggesting that it reduced the severity of and mortality from the disease. However, no direct comparative studies on the effectiveness of oseltamivir have been conducted, explain the researchers.

Noting observational study results that show the popular herbal formula maxingshigan-yinqiaosan may be beneficial in acute H1N1 influenza, Chen Wang, from Capital Medical University, Beijing, and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled, non-blinded, multicenter trial in which 410 adults aged 15-59 years at 11 hospitals were assigned to treatment with oseltamivir 75 mg twice daily, maxingshigan-yinqiaosan 200 ml four times daily, oseltamivir plus maxingshigan-yinqiaosan at these same doses, or no intervention (control) for 5 days.

Compared with a median of 26.0 hours in the control group, the time to fever resolution reduced significantly in the oseltamivir, maxingshigan-yinqiaosan, and combination therapy groups, by 35%, 37%, and 47%, respectively.

There were no significant differences between the treatment groups in the time to fever resolution, although the team reports in the Annals of Internal Medicine that the 19%-greater reduction in the combination therapy group versus oseltamivir alone reached borderline significance. Treatment had no impact on patients' symptoms scores.

No adverse effects were observed in the control, oseltamivir, or combination therapy groups. However, two patients in the maxingshigan-yinqiaosan group had nausea and vomiting. There were no differences per group in complications following treatment.

The research team writes: "In conclusion, in previously healthy young adults and adolescents who presented with uncomplicated 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus infection, therapy with oseltamivir and maxingshigan-yinqiaosan (alone and in combination) was associated with faster resolution of fever.

"Maxingshigan-yinqiaosan can be used as an alternative treatment of H1N1 influenza A virus infection when oseltamivir is not available."

By Liam Davenport

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