Chinese herbal medicine formula for acute asthma: A multi-center, randomized, double-blind, proof-of-concept trial

Publication date: July 2018
Source:Respiratory Medicine, Volume 140
Author(s): Hong Ping Zhang, Lei Wang, Zhen Wang, Xian Rong Xu, Xian Mei Zhou, Gang Liu, Lv Yuan He, Jun Wang, Alan Hsu, Wei Min Li, Gang Wang
BackgroundDespite advances in asthma management, exacerbations constitute a significant health economic burden.ObjectiveTo observe the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine formula entitled PingchuanYiqi (PCYQ) granule, on acute asthma and to explore its possible mechanism.Materials and methodsThis proof-of-concept study consisted of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with acute asthma (n = 300). Participants with acute mild-to-moderate asthma recruited from seven centers in China were randomly assigned to receive PCYQ or placebo. The primary outcomes were PEF (L/min) and total asthma symptom scores. Furthermore, a panel of cytokines including serum IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, IL-17A, IFN-α, IFN-β, IFN-γ, CRP, CCL-5, IP-10, and PGD2 levels was detected using ELISA.ResultsThe PCYQ (n = 139) significantly improved the morning PEF on day 4 (349.73 ± 93.92 vs. 313.56 ± 92.91 L/min, P = 0.004) and day 7 (360.42 ± 94.39 vs. 329.52 ± 95.97 L/min, P = 0.023), and the evening PEF on day 4 (352.65 ± 95.47 vs. 320.58 ± 95.30 L/min, P = 0.012) and day 7 (360.42 ± 94.39 vs. 336.86 ± 95.59 L/min, P = 0.029) in comparison with the placebo (n = 143). The PCYQ also improved the clinical symptoms scores and reduced the puffs of short-acting β2-agonist (all P < 0.05). Furthermore, the PCYQ statistically reduced IL-5, IL-8, IL-1β and PGD2 in serum.ConclusionThe PCYQ as the Chinese herbal medicine formula significantly improves lung function and symptoms of acute asthma, and reduces SABA dosage possibly via decrease of inflammatory biomarkers such as IL-5, IL-8, IL-1β and PGD2.Trial registrationISRCTN61674768 (http://www.isrctn.com/).