Objective: To observe the effect of modified Yanghe Decoction (YHD) on the dose of glucocorticoid demanded in treating polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).
Methods: Sixty-one patients with PMR were randomly assigned to two groups, the 32 patients in the treatment group treated with YHD two doses per day combined with prednisone and the 29 patients in the control group treated with prednisone alone. The dosage of prednisone used was started from 20 mg/d and decreased step by step as possible after 2 weeks according to patient's condition. The therapeutic course for them all was 12 weeks.
Results: The therapeutic efficacy of PMR in the 32 patients of the treatment group was remission in 9 (28.1%), markedly effective in 15 (46.9%), effective in 7 (21.9%), and ineffective in 1 (3.1%), with the total effective rate of 96.9%; while that for the 29 patients of the control group, the corresponding numbers and percentages were 3 (10.3%), 11 (37.9%), 10 (34.5%), 5 (17.2%), and 82.8%. Compared with the control group, the treatment group can alleviate the activity of PMR more significantly (u = 2.109, P < 0.05) showing a greater and quicker decrease of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (t = 2.957, P < 0.05); and the dosage of prednisone demanded in the treatment group was reduced faster than that in the control group (t = 10.23, P<0.05).
Conclusion: YHD was helpful to shorten the therapeutic course for PMR, decrease the dosage of glucocorticoid used and raise the therapeutic efficacy.