Background: Many patients with gynecological disorders seek traditional medicine consultations in Asian countries. This study intended to investigate the utilization of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in patients with dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) in Taiwan.
Methods: We analyzed a cohort of one million individuals randomly selected from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. We included 46,337 subjects with newly diagnosed DUB (ICD-9-CM codes 626.8) from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2010. The patients were categorized into TCM seekers and non-TCM seekers according to their use of TCM.
Results: Among the subjects, 41,558 (89.69%) were TCM seekers and 4,779 (10.31%) were non-TCM seekers. Patients who were younger tended to be TCM seekers. Most of the patients had also taken Western medicine, especially tranexamic acid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). More than half of TCM seekers (55.41%) received combined treatment with both Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture. The most commonly used TCM formula and single herb were Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San (Bupleurum and Peony Formula) and Yi-Mu-Cao (Herba Leonuri), respectively. The core pattern of Chinese herbal medicine for DUB patients consisted of Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San, Xiang-Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi), and Yi-Mu-Cao (Herba Leonuri).
Conclusions: TCM use is popular among patients with DUB in Taiwan. Further pharmacological investigations and clinical trials are required to validate the efficacy and safety of these items.
Keywords: Chinese herbal medicine; Complementary and alternative medicine; Dysfunctional uterine bleeding; National Health Insurance Research Database; Traditional Chinese medicine.