Chinese herbal medicine Guizhi Fuling Formula for treatment of uterine fibroids: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials

Ni-Ni Chen et al, BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14: 2.

This review examined 38 RCTs and nearly 4000 patients with fibroids. They were treated with mifepristone alone or in combination with a well known Chinese herbal formula.

The meta-analyses demonstrated that Guizhi Fuling Formula plus mifepristone was more effective than mifepristone alone in reducing the volume of fibroids, and the herbal formula significantly improved symptoms of pain when it was used alone or in combination with mifepristone. Further clinical trials are warranted due to methodological quality lacking in some of the trials.

Abstract

Background

Guizhi Fuling Formula is widely applied for uterine fibroids in China. Many clinical trials are reported. This study assessed the efficacy and safety of Guizhi Fuling Formula for the treatment of uterine fibroids.

Methods

PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL, EMBASE, and four Chinese databases were searched through May 2013. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that tested Guizhi Fuling Formula for uterine fibroids, compared with no intervention, placebo, pharmaceutical medication, or other Chinese patent medicines approved by the State Food and Drug Administration of China. Authors extracted data and assessed the quality independently. We applied RevMan 5.2.0 software to analyse data of included randomised trials.

Results

A total of 38 RCTs involving 3816 participants were identified. The methodological quality of the included trials was generally poor. Meta-analyses demonstrated that Guizhi Fuling Formula plus mifepristone were more effective than mifepristone alone in reducing the volume of fibroids (in total volume of multiple fibroids, MD −19.41 cm3, 95% CI −28.68 to −10.14; in average volume of multiple fibroids, MD −1.00 cm3, 95% CI −1.23 to −0.76; in average volume of maximum fibroids, MD −3.35 cm3, 95% CI −4.84 to −1.87, I2 = 93%, random effects model). Guizhi Fuling Formula significantly improved symptoms of dysmenorrhea either when it was used alone (RR 2.27, 95% CI 1.04 to 4.97) or in combination with mifepristone (RR 2.35, 95% CI 1.15 to 4.82). No serious adverse events were reported.

Conclusions

Guizhi Fuling Formula appears to have additional benefit based on mifepristone treatment in reducing volume of fibroids. However, due to high risk of bias of the trials, we could not draw confirmative conclusions on its benefit. Future clinical trials should be well-designed and avoid the issues that are identified in this study.