Traditional Chinese Medicine Improved Kidney Function in Randomized Trial

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000411462.69125.70
ASN Kidney Week

PHILADELPHIA—Traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD), but there have been few attempts to test its impact on CKD in a multicenter, blinded trial. In a recent randomized trial presented here at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2011 (TH-OR052), the use of traditional Chinese medicine led to a higher estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in patients with CKD.

The randomized, double-blind study was conducted in 13 nephrology centers in China from January 2006 to December 2009. Included in the study were 578 patients with primary glomerulonephritis in CKD Stage 3.

These patients were randomly assigned to three different treatment groups: 189 patients received benazepril, 192 patients received traditional Chinese medicine decoction granules, and 197 patients received a combination of traditional Chinese medicine decoction granules and benazepril.

The patients had similar characteristics at baseline and were followed for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was time to the composite of a 50% increase in serum creatinine, end-stage renal disease, or death.

Estimated glomerular filtration rate improved in patients receiving traditional Chinese medicine alone or with benazepril, while eGFR decreased in the benazepril-alone group.

The 24-hour urinary protein excretion and the urinary albumin–to-creatinine ratio went down in the the benazepril-alone group and in the benazepril plus traditional Chinese medicine group. Conversely, both measures rose in the traditional Chinese medicine group to Week 12 and then stabilized.

The number of adverse events was lowest in the traditional Chinese medicine group—25, compared with 39 in the benazepril-alone group and 46 in the benazepril plus traditional Chinese medicine group.

While traditional Chinese medicine can decrease proteinuria and improve renal function when combined with benazepril, it does not significantly reduce proteinuria when used alone, the authors noted.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.