Adjunctive traditional Chinese medicine therapy for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis: a population-based study

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015 Mar;5(3):240-6. doi: 10.1002/alr.21446. Epub 2014 Dec 15.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a chronic illness with a high prevalence worldwide. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of adjunctive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) use in patients with CRS.

Methods: Data were retrieved from a dataset made available by the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) containing the medical records of 1,000,000 randomly sampled beneficiaries insured in the year 2000. Patients newly diagnosed with CRS in the year 2000 were enrolled, and their medical records during the period 2000 to 2011 were collected and analyzed.

Results: A total of 14,806 CRS subjects were enrolled in this study: 10,512 were non-TCM users and 4294 were TCM users. TCM group had a significantly higher proportion of females, were younger, and a greater proportion lived in urban areas compared with the non-TCM group (all p < 0.0001). Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the TCM users received herbal remedies. The most common Chinese herbal formula used was Xin-Yi-Qing-Fei-Tang and the most commonly used single herb was Baizhi. The hazard ratio (HR) for functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) was 0.17 for TCM users (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15 to 0.20) compared with non-TCM users after adjusting for age, sex, urbanization, and comorbidities.

Conclusion: Our investigation found that 29% of CRS patients used TCM in addition to Western medical treatment. A lower proportion of patients in the TCM group underwent ESS compared with that in the non-TCM group. These findings may be of value in further studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of TCM use in CRS patients.

Keywords: acupuncture; chronic rhinosinusitis; complementary and alternative therapy; functional endoscopic sinus surgery; traditional Chinese medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Chronic Disease
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinitis / therapy*
  • Sinusitis / therapy*
  • Taiwan
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal