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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 519035, 7 pages
Review Article

Beneficial Effects of Rikkunshito, a Japanese Kampo Medicine, on Gastrointestinal Dysfunction and Anorexia in Combination with Western Drug: A Systematic Review

Tsumura Research Laboratories, Tsumura & Co., 3586 Yoshiwara, Ami-Machi, Inashiki-Gun, Ibaraki 300-1192, Japan

Received 15 November 2013; Accepted 17 February 2014; Published 20 March 2014

Academic Editor: Isadore Kanfer

Copyright © 2014 Sachiko Mogami and Tomohisa Hattori. 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. Kampo medicines are traditional herbal medicines which have been approved for medicinal use by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare and are currently being used more and more, often in combination with Western drugs. Thus, the need for investigation of interactions between Kampo medicines and Western drugs is now widely recognized. Aim. To summarize the effects and drug interactions of rikkunshito, a Kampo medicine often prescribed for upper gastrointestinal disorders and anorexia. Methods. Animal and human studies were systematically reviewed to identify published data on rikkunshito. Results describing its effects were abstracted, with an emphasis on drug interactions. Results and Discussion. Rikkunshito ameliorates anorexia induced by anticancer drugs, improves quality of life scores, and can even prolong survival compared with monotherapy. Rikkunshito combined with proton pump inhibitor therapy is shown to be useful in the treatment of PPI-refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease patients and patients with gastrointestinal symptoms after endoscopic submucosal dissection. Rikkunshito reduces antidepressant-induced adverse events and improves quality of life without influencing antidepressant effects. Conclusions. Rikkunshito shows ameliorative effects on adverse reactions induced by various Western drugs and can achieve better results (e.g., anticancer drugs and proton pump inhibitor) without influencing the efficacy and bioavailability of Western drugs.