The traditional Chinese medicine prescription pattern of patients with primary dysmenorrhea in Taiwan: a large-scale cross sectional survey

J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 14;152(2):314-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Jan 10.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), when given for symptom relief, has gained widespread popularity among women with primary dysmenorrhea (PD). The aim of this study was to analyze the utilization of TCM among PD women in Taiwan.

Methods: The use, service frequency and Chinese herbal products prescribed for PD women were evaluated using a cross sectional survey of 23,118 beneficiaries who were recruited from the National Health Insurance Research Database. The logistic regression method was employed to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) for utilization of TCM.

Results: Overall, 53.4% (N=12,349) of PD women utilized TCM and 92.2% of them sought TCM with the intention of treating their menstruation-related pain symptoms. PD women who do not take prescription painkillers (aOR=35.75, 95% CI:33.20-38.49) were more likely to seek TCM treatment than those who took pain medication (aOR=1.00). There were a total of 213,249 TCM visits due to PD, of which more than 99% were treated with Chinese herbal products (CHPs). Dang-gui-shao-yao-san (Tangkuei and Peony Powder) was the most frequently prescribed formula for treating PD.

Conclusion: Primary dysmenorrhea women tended to use Chinese herbal products to deal with pain-related symptoms, rather than use acupuncture. Dang-gui-shao-yao-san, which containing both sedative and anti-inflammatory agents, is the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formula for the treatment of PD. A well designed, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study to further evaluate the efficacy of Dang-gui-shao-yao-san as a treatment women with primary dysmenorrhea is warranted.

Keywords: Chinese herbal product; Dang-gui-shao-yao-san; Dysmenorrhea; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan
  • Young Adult


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal