Integrative Medicine Research (2017-03-01)

Effectiveness and safety of combination treatment of herbal medicines and oral antihistamines for atopic dermatitis: a retrospective chart review

  • Younghee Yun,
  • Jaewoong Son,
  • Kyuseok Kim,
  • Bo-Hyeong Jang,
  • Inhwa Choi,
  • Seong-Gyu Ko

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1
pp. 19 – 25


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Background: Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) exhibit various symptoms, especially itching. Recently, herbal medicines (HMs) are being used in combination with antihistamines for the treatment of AD in Korea. While oral antihistamines can alleviate itching, HMs appear to exert anti-inflammatory effects with minimal side effects. However, there is little evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of using HMs in combination with antihistamines for AD. Methods: To observe the effectiveness and safety of combination treatment with HMs and antihistamines, we performed a retrospective chart review of inpatients with AD who received this combination treatment for at least 7 days in a hospital. Results: Of 163 inpatients, 40 met the inclusion criteria. All patients received HMs three times, and one or two antihistamines, a day after HM intake. A large proportion of patients received first-generation antihistamines. HMs comprised a mixture of an average of 20.69 different herbs in decoction. The mean total, objective, and subjective SCORing Atopic Dermatitis scores showed a significant decrease after combination treatment. Changes in the mean levels of aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine were not statistically significant among treatments. There were no adverse events of pseudoaldosteronism or interstitial pneumonia. Conclusion: We observed that the short-term use of HMs in combination with oral antihistamines was safe and effective, with a low risk of adverse reactions. This study was limited by its retrospective design, and prospective studies with long-term follow-up periods are warranted to further elucidate the safety of this combination treatment for AD.