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International Journal of General Medicine

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Sarcopenia -- osteoporotic fracture risk, Chinese herbal medicines -- cohort study


Introduction: With population aging, sarcopenia and its accompanying risk of osteoporotic fracture has drawn increased attention. Nowadays, while Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is often used as complementary therapy for many medical conditions, its effect against likelihood of osteoporotic fracture among sarcopenia subjects was not fully elucidated yet. We therefore conducted a population-level study to compare osteoporotic fracture risk for sarcopenia persons with or without CHM use. Methods: Using the patient record from a nationwide insurance database, we recruited persons with newly diagnosed sarcopenia and simultaneously free of osteoporotic fracture between 2000 and 2010. Propensity score matching was then applied to randomly select sets of CHM users and non-CHM users. All of them were tracked until end of 2013 to measure the incidence and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for new new-onset fracture in multivariable Cox proportional hazards model. Results: Compared to non-CHM users, the CHM users indeed had a lower incidence of osteoporotic fracture (121.22 vs 156.61 per 1000 person-years). Use of CHM correlated significantly with a lower fracture likelihood after adjusting for potential covariates, and those receiving CHM treatment for more than two years experienced a remarkably lower risk by 73%. Uses of several herbal formulae were correlated to reduced risk of osteoporotic fracture, such as Caulis Spatholobi, Xuduan, Duzhong, Danshen, Shu-Jing-Huo-Xue- Tang, Du-Huo-Ji-Sheng-Tang, Shao-Yao-Gan-Cao-Tang, and Shen-Tong-Zhu-Yu -Tang. Conclusion: Our study depicted that cumulative CHM exposure was inversely associated with osteoporotic fracture risk in a duration-dependent manner, implying that CHM treatment may be embraced as routine care in preventing incident osteoporotic fracture.


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