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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a major public health problem worldwide. There is no curative treatment for IPF except lung transplantation. Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs) are widely used in the treatment of IPF in China. However, their effectiveness and safety are still obscure and deserve further investigation. The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy and safety of CHMs in treating IPF compared with N-acetylcysteine (NAC). This review summarizes and meta-analyzes randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of CHMs for the treatment of IPF. RCTs compare either CHMs alone or in combination with NAC or conventional medicine treatment (CMT) vs NAC alone or in combination with CMT have been included. The following electronic databases have been searched: PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, CNKI, CBM, VIP, and WANFANG DATA. The methodologic quality of RCTs has been assessed using the Cochrane risk assessment tool. All trials included are analyzed according to the criteria of the Cochrane Handbook. Review Manager 5.3, R-3.5.1 software, and GRADE pro GDT web solution are used for data synthesis and analysis. This review evaluates the effects of CHMs on acute exacerbation, mortality, the quality of life, 6-minute walking test distance, lung function (total lung capacity, diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide, and forced vital capacity), partial pressure of oxygen in blood (PaO2), and safety in patients with IPF. This review provides clear evidence to assess the effectiveness and safety of CHMs for IPF.


Jing Guo, Bin Li, Wenyuan Li, Yi Pan, Zhichao Wang, Yuxiao Wu, Fei Wang. Chinese herbal medicines compared with N-acetylcysteine for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Protocol for a systematic review. Medicine. 2018 Nov;97(44):e13077

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PMID: 30383692

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