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Meta-Analysis Finds Chinese Patent Medicines May Be Efficacious, Suitable Interventions for Vitiligo


Combined with routine treatments for vitiligo, certain CPMs proved efficacious in patients with vitiligo, with few adverse effects.

Liga Cerina/Adobe Stock
Liga Cerina/Adobe Stock

Chinese Patent Medicines (CPMs) were shown to be both efficacious and suitable interventions for patients with vitiligo, according to a recent meta-analysis published in Medicine.1

Investigators Wang et al conducted an analysis of 48 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 4,446 participants, making it one of the most extensive analyses of CPMs for vitiligo. The study's primary outcomes included the total effective rate, good improvement rate, and adverse reactions. Secondary outcomes comprised the skin lesion pigment score, lesion area, and quality-of-life score, as measured using the Dermatosis Life Quality Index Scale.

The study focused on six common CPMs, each combined with routine therapeutic options for vitiligo. These CPMs included Vernonia anthelmintica (VCP), bletilla striata (BTC), quercus mongolica (QT), psoralen (BP), tripterygium wilfordii (TP), Qian Ceng Ta (QP).

QT exhibited the highest efficacy, with an odds ratio of 6.99 compared to routine therapy alone. TP and VCP also demonstrated significant efficacy, with odds ratios of 4.05 and 3.53, respectively. QP) showed effectiveness on a less significant scale, with an odds ratio of 3.31. BTC and BP displayed comparatively lower efficacy, with odds ratios of 1.29 and 1.17, respectively.

Regarding adverse reactions, QP and VCP were found to be the safest options, with no significant differences in adverse reactions compared to routine therapy.

TP and BTC also exhibited safety, with odds ratios of 0.33 and 0.67, respectively. QT and BP had higher adverse reaction rates, with odds ratios of 4.40 and 1.50, respectively.

In terms of improvements to skin lesion pigment, VCP and BP were found to be comparable in nature, while VCP displayed a slight advantage over TP in terms of reducing the lesion area.

In improving patients' overall quality of life, TP was noted as the most effective in improving the quality-of-life score, followed by QT.

Results of a cluster analysis demonstrated that VCP and QP were categorized as having relatively good efficacy and high safety. QT showed higher efficacy but lower safety. BTC, BP, and TP were classified as having medium efficacy and safety.

"In the previous search, there was no network meta-analysis study on the efficacy and safety evaluation of CPMs in the treatment of vitiligo, so this may be the first research in the field," study authors wrote. "Clinical research in traditional Chinese medicine could be standardized according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine to realize the guidelines for the prescription of traditional Chinese medicine in a more scientifical and effective manner."


  1. Wang J, Wang D, Si G. Efficacy and safety of Chinese patent medicine compound preparation combined with routine treatment in vitiligo: A Bayesian network meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2023;102(41):e35327. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000035327
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