Ethnopharmacological relevance: Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been commonly used in treating liver diseases in Asian countries.
Aim of study: To conduct a large-scale pharmacoepidemiological study and evaluate the frequency and pattern of CHM prescriptions in treating chronic hepatitis.
Materials and methods: We obtained the database of traditional Chinese medicine outpatient claims from the national health insurance in Taiwan for the whole 2002. Patients with chronic hepatitis were identified by the corresponding diagnosis of International Classification of Disease among claimed visiting files. Corresponding prescription files were analyzed, and association rule were applied to evaluate the co-prescription of CHM in treating chronic hepatitis.
Results: Among the 91,080 subjects treated by CHM for chronic hepatitis, the peak age was in the 40 s, followed by 30 s and 50 s. Male/female ratio was 2.07:1. Long-dan-xie-gan-tang and Saliva miltiorrhiza (Dan-shen) were the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula and single herbal drug, respectively. The most common two-drug prescription was Jia-wei-xia-yao-san plus Saliva miltiorrhiza, and the most common three-drug prescription was Jia-wei-xia-yao-san plus Saliva miltiorrhiza and Artemisia capillaries (Yin-chen-hao).
Conclusions: This study showed the utilization pattern of Chinese herbal drugs or formulae in treating chronic hepatitis. Further researches and clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of these Chinese herbs or its ingredients in treating chronic hepatitis.