Chinese herbal medicine for weight management. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Author

Wong A.R., Hong Yang A.W., Li K., Gill H., Li M., Lenon G.B. 

Journal

Journal of Obesity 

Volume

2021

Issue ID

3250723

Page

1-17

Date

2021 March 

Abstract

This review investigated the effects and safety of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) formulas on weight management. Eighteen databases in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese were searched from their inceptions to September 2019. The treatment groups included CHM formulations, and the control included placebo, Western medication (WM), and lifestyle intervention (LI), with or without cointerventions (WM and/or LI). Quality of studies was assessed using Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias assessment tool. Body weight and body mass index (BMI) were analysed in RevMan v5.4.1 and expressed as mean differences with 95% confidence intervals (CI), while adverse events were expressed as risk ratio with 95% CI. Thirty-nine RCTs were eligible for qualitative analysis, 34 of which were included in the meta-analyses. The majority of studies had a high or unclear risk of selection, performance, and detection bias. Twenty-five CHM studies involving cointerventions revealed that CHM had significant adjunct effects on body weight and BMI at the end of treatment compared to control. No serious adverse events were reported in the CHM groups. CHM indicates a promising adjunct to facilitate WM or lifestyle change for weight management. However, methodological barriers such as lack of allocation concealment and double-blinding may have led to challenges in data synthesis. More rigorously designed RCTs involving cointerventions are warranted.

Language

English 

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