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Use of traditional Chinese medicine linked to worse outcomes in rheumatology patients

12 Dec 2019
Compounds in two forms of traditional Chinese medicine are found to be effective against cancer

Patient-reported outcomes in several physical and mental health domains are poorer among users of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), according to a study of Chinese American rheumatology patients. However, TCM may be used as an alternative for unmet therapeutic needs.

The authors recruited Chinese American patients who were actively treated for systemic rheumatic diseases from urban Chinatown rheumatology clinics and collected data on sociodemographics, acculturation, clinical factors and TCM use (11 modalities).

Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System short forms were used to assess self-reported health status. TCM users and nonusers were then compared. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors independently associated with TCM use.

Of the 230 participants (median age, 57 years; range, 20–97 years), 65 percent were women, 71 percent had ≤high school education, 70 percent were on Medicaid insurance, 47 percent lived in the US for at least 20 years, and 22 percent spoke fluent English.

Half of the participants used TCM in the previous year, and these individuals reported worse anxiety, depression, fatigue and ability to participate in social roles and activities than nonusers.

Multivariable analysis revealed the association of TCM use with the following: belief in TCM, female sex, ≥20 years of residency in the US, reporting Western medicine as ineffective and shorter duration of rheumatic disease.

“Asking about TCM use could help providers identify patients with suboptimal health-related quality of life who may benefit from targeted interventions,” the authors said.

“Chinese Americans are a fast-growing immigrant group with more severe rheumatic disease manifestations than whites and often a strong cultural preference for TCM,” they noted.

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Most Read Articles
Pearl Toh, 27 Mar 2020
Every-two-month injections of the long-acting cabotegravir + rilpivirine were noninferior to once-monthly injections for virologic suppression at 48 weeks in people living with HIV*, according to the ATLAS-2M** study presented at CROI 2020 — thus providing a potential option with more convenient dosing.
Stephen Padilla, 31 Mar 2020
Treatment with hydroxychloroquine appears to significantly reduce viral load in patients with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with its beneficial effects reinforced by adding azithromycin, results of a recent study have shown.
Elvira Manzano, 22 Nov 2017
A blood pressure (BP) reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher is the ‘new high’ in the latest AHA/ACC* hypertension guidelines, a threshold that is tighter than the JNC 7** cutpoint of 140/90 mm Hg for stage 1 hypertension in the general population. The change will mean more patients being labelled with hypertension.
Audrey Abella, 27 Mar 2020
The angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) losartan did not improve inflammation, T-cell immune recovery, or fibrotic activity among older persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and viral suppression, according to data presented at CROI 2020.