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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 752837, 6 pages
Research Article

Prescription Patterns of Chinese Herbal Products for Osteoporosis in Taiwan: A Population-Based Study

1Department for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chia-Yi 61363, Taiwan
2Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei 10055, Taiwan
3Department of Public Health, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei 10055, Taiwan
4Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei 10055, Taiwan

Received 4 July 2012; Revised 22 September 2012; Accepted 24 September 2012

Academic Editor: Ima Nirwana Soelaiman

Copyright © 2012 Wei-Tai Shih 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.


Background. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes Chinese herbal products (CHPs), acupuncture, and traumatology manipulative therapies. TCM physicians often prescribe CHP to treat patients with osteoporosis; however, the drugs used and their patterns of prescriptions have yet to be characterized. This study, therefore, aimed to evaluate the CHP used for the treatment of osteoporosis in Taiwan and their prescription patterns. Methods. A cohort of one million randomly sampled cases from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) was analyzed to evaluate the frequencies and percentages of herbal formula and single herb prescriptions for osteoporosis. Association rules were then applied to evaluate the CHP coprescription patterns and the prevalence of osteoporosis. Results. The osteoporosis cohort included 16 544 patients, of whom more than 70% had used TCM on one or more occasion. Of these patients, 4 292 (25.9%) had been hospitalized at least once because of fracture. Du-Huo-Ji-Sheng-Tang and Du Zhong (Cortex Eucommiae) were the most frequently prescribed herbal formula and single herb, respectively, for the treatment of osteoporosis. Conclusion. This study identified patterns of CHP use for the treatment of osteoporosis. However, further research is required to fully elucidate the efficacy and safety of these CHP.