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J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Sep 28;143(2):701-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.034. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Chinese herbal medicine in treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, No. 301 Yanchang Middle Road, Shanghai 200072, China.

Erratum in

  • J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 May 2;147(1):263.



There are multimodal and multidisciplinary approaches to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). However, the intractable adverse effects limited their widespread use. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is increasingly used for the treatment of DPN. The aim of this study was to review existing evidence on the effectiveness of CHM for the treatment of DPN.


Searches were performed with Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CNKI, CBM and Wangfan databases. Controlled trials comparing CHM with other medicine for the treatment of DPN were analyzed.


Eighteen trials met the inclusion criteria. All trials used vitamin B12 and/or B1 as control. Clinical therapeutic effect, divided by three grades including marked effective, effective and ineffective according to the improved degree of subjective symptom, tendon reflex, and nerve conduction velocity, was the only end point reported in all trials, and thus evaluated. The results showed CHM treatment was associated with a superiority in marked effective (odds ratio [OR], 2.40; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.94 to 2.97; p<0.001), and effective (OR, 1.39; 95% CI: 1.16 to 1.67; p<0.001). Patients who received CHM treatment was associated with a less likely to report ineffective (OR, 0.26; 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.33, p<0.001). No adverse events were reported in any of the included trials.


According to the pooled results of our study and the poor quality of the included trials, it might be uncertainty that there was a superiority of CHM for treating DPN. More rigorous controlled trials are required to substantiate or refute these early findings.

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