[Tripterygium wilfordii extract for treating rheumatoid arthritis: systematic review]

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Oct;34(20):2637-43.
[Article in Chinese]


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of Tripterygium wilfordii extract (TWE) in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Method: Mainly using the simple methods from the International Cochrane Collaboration as systematic evaluation methods. Using Revman 4.2.5 which Cochrane Cooperation Web recommended to analysis. Using American College of Rheumatology (ACR) core set (ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70) of therapeutic efficacy measures which recommended by ACR, radiographic change of bone and the rate of inefficacy as efficacy methods. Dividing into placebo subgroup and DMARDs (disease modifying anti rheumatism drugs) subgroup according to different control treatments.

Result: A total of seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were collected. They are all of small sample size, six of which exist some methodological defects, resulting in many possible biases. As evaluated by ACR20/50/70, TWE was as effective as DMARDs in reducing number of swelling joints, level of C-reactive protein (CRP), and was more effective than DMARDs in reducing erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (P <0.01). While TWE was no effect in delaying bone destruction. The incidence of adverse reactions of TWE is higher than DMARDs.

Conclusion: TWE can be used as an alternative medicine in treating RA. But owing to lacking of data from high-quality RCTs, however, the efficacy and safety of TWE are desired for further exploration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tripterygium / chemistry*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • C-Reactive Protein