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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 724353, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep116
Original Article

Treatment of Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Clinical Study

School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

Received 25 April 2009; Accepted 17 July 2009

Copyright © 2011 Wan Fung Kum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The objective of this clinical study is to examine the effects of a Chinese herbal medicine formula (Jia Wei Liu Jun Zi Tang: JWLJZT) on motor and non-motor symptoms, and on complications of conventional therapy in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), using an add-on design. Fifty-five patients with PD were randomly allocated to receive either Chinese herbal medicine or placebo for 24 weeks. Primary outcome measure was the 39-item Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39). Secondary outcome measures included the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Short-Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), home diaries, and a range of category rating scales. JWLJZT resulted in a significant improvement in the UPDRS IVC when compared with placebo at 12 weeks (P = .039) and 24 weeks (P = .034). In addition, patients in the Chinese herbal medicine group also showed significant improvement in PDQ-39 communication scores at 12 weeks (P = .024) and 24 weeks (P = .047) when compared with the placebo group. There were no significant differences between treatment and control groups for SF-36 variables, GDS score or the mean daily “on-off” time. One case of mild diarrhea was noted in the treatment group. The findings suggest that JWLJZT can relieve some non-motor complications of conventional therapy and improve the communication ability in patients with PD. The results of this pilot study warrant larger multi-center clinical studies to assess long-term efficacy and tolerability of JWLJZT, and to elucidate the mechanisms by which it affects PD function.