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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 343176, 17 pages
Review Article

Effectiveness, Medication Patterns, and Adverse Events of Traditional Chinese Herbal Patches for Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review

1Shi’s Center of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201203, China
2Institute of Traumatology & Orthopedics, Shanghai Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 5 June 2013; Revised 17 August 2013; Accepted 18 August 2013; Published 14 January 2014

Academic Editor: Byung-Cheul Shin

Copyright © 2014 Xuezong Wang 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.


Objective. The aim of this study is to systematically evaluate the evidence whether traditional Chinese herbal patches (TCHPs) for osteoarthritis (OA) are effective and safe and analyze their medication patterns. Methods. A systematic literature search was performed using all the possible Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and keywords from January 1979 to July 2013. Both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies were included. Estimated effects were analyzed using mean difference (MD) or relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) and meta-analysis. Results. 86 kinds of TCHPs were identified. RCTs and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) which were mostly of low quality favored TCHPs for local pain and dysfunction relief. TCHPs, compared with diclofenac ointment, had significant effects on global effectiveness rate (RR = 0.50; 95% CI (0.29, 0.87)). Components of formulae were mainly based on the compounds “Xiao Huo Luo Dan” (Minor collateral-freeing pill) and “Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang” (Angelicae Pubescentis and Loranthi decoction). Ten kinds of adverse events (AEs), mainly consisting of itching and/or local skin rashes, were identified after 3-4 weeks of follow-up. Conclusions. TCHPs have certain evidence in improving global effectiveness rate for OA; however, more rigorous studies are warranted to support their use.