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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2005 Sep;14(9):651-7.

Drug utilization pattern of Chinese herbal medicines in a general hospital in Taiwan.

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Department of Pharmacy, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



Drug utilization studies are important for the optimization of drug therapy and have received a great attention in recent years. Most of the information on drug use patterns has been derived from studies in modern Western medicines; however, studies regarding the drug utilization of traditional Chinese medicine (CM) are few. The present study was the first clinical research to evaluate the drug utilization patterns of Chinese herbal medicines in a general hospital in Taiwan.


Data were collected prospectively from the patients attending the Traditional Medicine Center of Taipei Veteran General Hospital under CM drug treatments. The study was carried out over a period of 1 year, from January 2002 to December 2002. Core drug use indicators, such as the average number of drugs per prescriptions, the dosing frequency of prescriptions, and the most common prescribed CM herbs and formulae were evaluated. The primary diagnosis and the CM drugs prescribed for were also revealed. All data were analyzed by descriptive statistics.


A total of 10 737 patients, representing 52 255 CM drugs, were screened during the study period. Regarding the prescriptions, the average number of drugs per prescription was 4.87 and 37.21% of prescriptions were composed by five drugs. Most of prescriptions (91.38%) were prescribed for three times a day. The most often prescribed Chinese herb was Hong-Hwa (5.76%) and the most common Chinese herbal formula was Jia-Wey-Shiau-Yau-San (3.80%). The most frequent main diagnosis was insomnia (15.58%), followed by menopause (5.22%) and constipation (5.09%).


The survey revealed the drug use pattern of CMs in a general hospital. The majority of CM prescriptions were composed by 3-6 drugs and often prescribed for three times a day. Generally, the rational drug uses of CM drugs were provided with respect to the various diagnoses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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