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International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Alternative treatment Medicine -- Clinical trials


Purpose: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients appear to report a higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While Chinese herbal medicine (CHMs) is proven to lower COPD risk, the scientific evidence regarding its effect in relation to COPD onset among them is limited. This longitudinal cohort study aimed to determine the relationship between CHMs use and the COPD risk in RA patients.

Methods: Using the nationwide claim data, 8349 patients newly diagnosed with RA and simultaneously free of COPD between 1998 and 2010 were eligible for enrollment. From this sample, we enrolled 3360 CHMs users and 3360 non-CHMs users, randomly selected using propensity scores matching from the remaining cases. They were followed until the end of 2012 to record COPD incidence. The hazard ratio (HR) of COPD with regard to CHMs use was estimated by the Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results: In the follow-up period, 136 CHMs users and 202 non-CHMs users developed COPD, representing incidence rates of 5.16 and 7.66, respectively, per 1000 person-years. CHMs use was associated with a 32% lower subsequent risk of COPD (adjusted HR: 0.68, 95% Confidence Interval: 0.54–0.84). Eight commonly prescribed CHMs were discovered to be associated with lower COPD risk: Yan Hu Suo, Sānɡ Zhī, Dang Shen, Huang Qin, Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San, Shu-Jing-Huo-Xue-Tang, Du-Huo-Ji-Sheng-Tang and Ge-Gen-Tang.

Conclusion: A significant association of CHMs use with a lower risk of COPD onset in RA patients was found, suggesting that CHMs could be integrated into conventional therapy to reduce COPD risk.


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