Use of traditional Chinese medicine reduces exposure to corticosteroid among atopic dermatitis children: A 1-year follow-up cohort study

Hsing Yu Chen, Yi Hsuan Lin, Jau Ching Wu, Sindy Hu, Sien Hung Yang, Jiun Liang Chen, Yu Chun Chen*, Su Shun Lo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ethnopharmacological relevance Atopic dermatitis is a prevalent dermatologic disease in children. Corticosteroid is an important treatment but side effects caused by long-term and excessive use heavily concern patients. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is potentially an alternative treatment and might cause less adverse effects. This nationwide retrospective cohort study aimed to examine the hypothesis that TCM use is associated with lower exposure to corticosteroid. Materials and methods Children under 12 years of age with ICD-9 codes 691.8 and 692.x were identified as atopic dermatitis patients from 2007/1/1 to 2007/12/31. Corticosteroid use was compared between TCM users and non-users for one-year follow-up by using a general estimation equation model with propensity-score matching. Results A total of 9012 TCM users were identified and the use of corticosteroid after treatment was compared with matched TCM non-users. Use of TCM significantly reduced exposure to corticosteroids after 1-year follow-up. Among TCM users, the exposure to any corticosteroids was lower (42.1% reduction in TCM users versus 34.5% increase in TCM non-users, relative risk: 0.36; p-Value<0.001), the duration was shorter (relative risk for using corticosteroid more than 14 days: 0.37; p-Value<0.001), and the rate of frequent visits with steroid prescription was also lower. CHM was the most commonly used TCM modality (98.5% of all visits) and Xiao-Feng-San was the most commonly used CHM (33% of all prescriptions) with extensive coverage for pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Conclusions Lower use rate of corticosteroid can be found after TCM treatment, which can be considered as an integrative therapy for atopic dermatitis. Further studies are warranted on the basis of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2015


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Corticosteroid
  • Database
  • National Health Insurance Research
  • Pediatrics
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of traditional Chinese medicine reduces exposure to corticosteroid among atopic dermatitis children: A 1-year follow-up cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this