Efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis as an adjunctive treatment in kidney transplant patients: A systematic-review and meta-analysis
Objectives Cordyceps sinensis (cordyceps) is a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine as adjuvant immunosuppressive agent in patients with kidney transplant. This review evaluates current evidence on the efficacy and safety of natural and fermented cordyceps preparations in patients with kidney transplant.
Methods English and Chinese electronic databases including The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure) were searched up to December 2015 for relevant randomized controlled trials. Journals and conference proceedings were also searched. Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion, extracted data, and assessed methodological quality. The primary outcome measures were incidence of acute graft rejection in the first year post-transplantation, one-year graft survival rate (defined as the percentage of patients with functioning grafts) and patient survival rate (or all-cause mortality).
Results Nine studies were eligible for inclusion. These studies were considered to be at moderate risk of bias due to poor reporting of methods. Four studies that compared cordyceps-based therapy with azathioprine-based therapy gave comparable acute rejection rates, and graft and patient survival. The cordyceps-treated group however showed better kidney function and lower incidences of hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and liver injury. Cordyceps used with different combinations of immunosuppressant therapy showed significant reduction in proteinuria after 6–12 months. Compared to the group receiving cyclosporine A monotherapy, treatment with a combination of cordyceps and cyclosporine A showed less treatment-induced nephrotoxicity. Adverse events were either not monitored or poorly documented in most trials.
Conclusions Current evidence shows that cordyceps as an adjuvant to routine immunosuppressant therapy may benefit kidney transplant patient, however, better quality evidence is still required.
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