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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2018, Article ID 5813767, 11 pages
Research Article

Investigation into the Individualized Treatment of Traditional Chinese Medicine through a Series of N-of-1 Trials

1Department of Respiratory Disease and Department of Pharmacy, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China
2Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
3Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Science, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
4Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1

Correspondence should be addressed to Haiyin Huang; moc.621@gnauh_niyiah and Yuqing Zhang; moc.liamg@0221znosidam

Received 30 May 2017; Revised 8 November 2017; Accepted 10 January 2018; Published 7 February 2018

Academic Editor: Mariangela Rondanelli

Copyright © 2018 Haiyin Huang 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.


Purpose. To compare the efficacy of individualized herbal decoction with standard decoction for patients with stable bronchiectasis through N-of-1 trials. Methods. We conducted a single center N-of-1 trials in 17 patients with stable bronchiectasis. Each N-of-1 trial contains three cycles. Each cycle is divided into two 4-week intervention including individualized decoction and fixed decoction (control). The primary outcome was patient self-reported symptoms scores on a 1–7 point Likert scale. Secondary outcomes were 24-hour sputum volume and CAT scores. Results. Among 14 completed trials, five showed that the individualized decoction was statistically better than the control decoction on symptom scores () but was not clinically significant. The group data of all the trials showed that individualized decoction was superior to control decoction on symptom scores ( versus , , mean difference and 95% CI: 0.18 (0.10, 0.25)), 24 h sputum volume (), and CAT scores ( versus , , mean difference and 95% CI: 1.95 (1.04, 2.86)) but not clinically significant. Conclusion. Optimizing the combined analysis of individual and group data and the improvement of statistical models may make contribution in establishing a method of evaluating clinical efficacy in line with the characteristics of traditional Chinese medicine individual diagnosis and treatment.