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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 543517, 8 pages
Research Article

Traditional Chinese Medicine Decreases the Stroke Risk of Systemic Corticosteroid Treatment in Dermatitis: A Nationwide Population-Based Study

1Institute of Chinese Medicine, School of Chinese Medicine, Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, Research Center for Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, Institute of Clinical Medical Science, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
2Departments of Dermatology, Medical Research, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Urology, Management Office for Health Data, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan
3Department of Applied Cosmetology, Master Program of Cosmetic Science, and Department of Cultural and Creative Industries, Hungkuang University, Taichung 43302, Taiwan
4Center for General Education, Feng Chia University, Taichung 40724, Taiwan
5Department of Dermatology, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung 40705, Taiwan
6Department of Psychology, College of Medical and Health Science, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan

Received 4 March 2015; Accepted 15 June 2015

Academic Editor: Cheryl Hawk

Copyright © 2015 Kao-Sung Tsai 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.


Epidemiological studies have shown a strong association between dermatitis and stroke. Systemic corticosteroid, the mainstay treatment for dermatitis, could enhance the atherosclerotic process. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for dermatitis to decrease the side effects of corticosteroid. However, the different stroke risk in dermatitis patients treated with systemic corticosteroid or TCM remains unclear. This study identified 235,220 dermatitis patients and same comorbidity matched subjects between 2000 and 2009 from database of NHRI in Taiwan. The two cohorts were followed until December 31, 2011. The primary outcome of interest was new diagnosis of stroke. The crude hazard ratio (HR) for future stroke among dermatitis patients treated with systemic corticosteroid was 1.40 (95% CI, 1.34–1.45; ) and TCM was 1.09 (95% CI, 1.05–1.13; ). The log-rank test showed a higher cumulative incidence of ischemic stroke in the patient treated with only systemic corticosteroid group than that treated with systemic corticosteroid and TCM, only TCM, and neither systemic corticosteroid nor TCM in the matched cohort during the follow-up period (). We demonstrated that patients treated with systemic corticosteroid had an increased risk of stroke and that the risk probably decreased by TCM treatment.