Association between use of Qingfei Paidu Tang and mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19: A national retrospective registry study

Phytomedicine. 2021 May:85:153531. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2021.153531. Epub 2021 Feb 28.


Background: Qingfei Paidu Tang (QPT), a formula of traditional Chinese medicine, which was suggested to be able to ease symptoms in patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been recommended by clinical guidelines and widely used to treat COVID-19 in China. However, whether it decreases mortality remains unknown.

Purpose: We aimed to explore the association between QPT use and in-hospital mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Study design: A retrospective study based on a real-world database was conducted.

Methods: We identified patients consecutively hospitalized with COVID-19 in 15 hospitals from a national retrospective registry in China, from January through May 2020. Data on patients' characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were extracted from the electronic medical records. The association of QPT use with COVID-19 related mortality was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models based on propensity score analysis.

Results: Of the 8939 patients included, 28.7% received QPT. The COVID-19 related mortality was 1.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8% to 1.7%) among the patients receiving QPT and 4.8% (95% CI 4.3% to 5.3%) among those not receiving QPT. After adjustment for patient characteristics and concomitant treatments, QPT use was associated with a relative reduction of 50% in-hospital COVID-19 related mortality (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.66 p < 0.001). This association was consistent across subgroups by sex and age. Meanwhile, the incidences of acute liver injury (8.9% [95% CI, 7.8% to 10.1%] vs. 9.9% [95% CI, 9.2% to 10.7%]; odds ratio, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.81% to 1.14%], p = 0.658) and acute kidney injury (1.6% [95% CI, 1.2% to 2.2%] vs. 3.0% [95% CI, 2.6% to 3.5%]; odds ratio, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.62 to 1.17], p = 0.318) were comparable between patients receiving QPT and those not receiving QPT. The major study limitations included that the study was an observational study based on real-world data rather than a randomized control trial, and the quality of data could be affected by the accuracy and completeness of medical records.

Conclusions: QPT was associated with a substantially lower risk of in-hospital mortality, without extra risk of acute liver injury or acute kidney injury among patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Mortality; Qingfei Paidu Tang.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / mortality*
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury
  • China
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • qing fei pai du tang