Background: Taiwan has the greatest incidence rate of end-stage renal disease in the world. Several cases of Chinese herb nephropathy were reported in Taiwan. Therefore, we studied the association between herbal therapy and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Taiwan.
Study design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting & participants: 1,740 adults in the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (1993 to 1996).
Predictor: Herbal and analgesic therapy.
Outcomes & measurements: CKD after adjustment for potential confounding variables.
Results: Among medication users, prevalences of herbal therapy and analgesic use were 21.6% and 13.2%, respectively. The prevalence of CKD was 9.9%. Participants with CKD were older and had more analgesic use, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Analgesic use was associated independently and positively with CKD (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.5; P = 0.003) and CKD stage (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.6; P = 0.003). Conversely, herbal therapy was associated independently and positively with CKD (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 1.7; P = 0.002) and CKD stage (odds ratio, 1.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 1.7; P = 0.004) only in participants who did not use analgesics.
Limitations: Because this was a cross-sectional study, cause and effect could not be ascertained.
Conclusions: Herbal therapy was associated with CKD in adults in Taiwan who did not use analgesics.