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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2013, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (6): 428-434.doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013059

• Study Protocol • Previous Articles    

Chinese herbal medicine Xinfeng Capsule in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: Study protocol of a multicenter randomized controlled trial

Jian Liu(), Chuan-bing Huang, Yuan Wang, Gui-qin Xu, Yuan-yuan Cheng, Yun-xia Feng, Lei Liu, Ya-jun Qi   

  1. Department of Rheumatology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230031, Anhui Province, China
  • Received:2013-11-01 Accepted:2013-11-05 Online:2013-11-10 Published:2013-11-15


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as a common systemic inflammatory autoimmune disease, affects approximately 1 in 100 individuals. Effective treatment for RA is not yet available because current research does not have a clear understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of RA. Xinfeng Capsule, a patent Chinese herbal medicine, has been used in the treatment of RA in recent years. Despite its reported clinical efficacy, there are no large-sample, multicenter, randomized trials that support the use of Xinfeng Capsule for RA. Therefore, we designed a randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial to assess the efficacy and safety of Xinfeng Capsule in the treatment of RA.

Methods and design

This is a 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial on the treatment of RA. The participants will be randomly assigned to the experimental group and the control group at a ratio of 1:1. Participants in the experimental group will receive Xinfeng Capsule and a pharmaceutical placebo (imitation leflunomide). The control group will receive leflunomide and an herbal placebo (imitation Xinfeng Capsule). The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Criteria for RA will be used to measure the efficacy of the Xinfeng Capsule. The primary outcome measure will be the percentage of study participants who achieve an ACR 20% response rate (ACR20), which will be measured every 4 weeks after randomization. Secondary outcomes will include the ACR50 and ACR70 responses, the side effects of the medications, the Disease Activity Score 28, RA biomarkers, quality of life, and X-rays of the hands and wrists. The first four of the secondary outcomes will be measured every 4 weeks and the others will be measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of treatment.


The result of this trial will help to evaluate whether Xinfeng Capsule is effective and safe in the treatment of RA.

Trial registration

This trial has been registered in The identifier is NCT01774877.

Key words: Xinfeng Capsule, Rheumatoid arthritis, Double-blind method, Placebos, ACR criteria, Quality of life, Randomized controlled trials, Clinical protocols


Figure 1

Procedure of this studyAccording to the clinical manifestations, RA belongs to the category known as Bi Syndrome in CM terminology[30]. CM is a complete medical system with that has been in continuous practice for over 3 000 years[31], during which time it has been widely used for RA treatment[32]. But there lacks high-quality, modern scientific evidence that demonstrates efficacy and safety of CM in the treatment of RA."

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