Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a worldwide life-threatening pandemic. Lianhua Qingwen is believed to possess the ability to treat or significantly improve the symptoms of COVID-19. These claims make it important to systematically evaluate the effects of using Lianhua Qingwen with Western medicine to treat COVID-19.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of combination therapy, employing Lianhua Qingwen with Western medicine, to treat COVID-19, using a meta-analysis approach.
China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang Database, VIP Database, PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for studies evaluating the effect of Lianhua Qingwen-Western medicine combination therapy in the treatment of COVID-19.
(1) Research object: hospitalized patients meeting the diagnostic criteria of COVID-19 were included. (2) Intervention measures: patients in the treatment group received Lianhua Qingwen treatment combined with Western medicine, while the control group received either Western medicine or Chinese medicine treatment. (3) Research type: randomized controlled trials and retrospective study were included.
Data extraction and analysis
Two researchers extracted the first author, the proportion of males and females, age, body temperature, course of treatment, rate of disappearance of main symptoms, duration of fever, adverse reactions, and total effectiveness from the literature. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used as the effect value for count data, and mean difference (MD) and 95% CI were used as the effect value for measurement data.
Six articles met the inclusion criteria, including a total of 856 COVID-19 patients. The meta-analysis showed that Lianhua Qingwen combination therapy achieved higher rates of fever reduction (OR = 3.43, 95% CI [1.78, 6.59], P = 0.0002), cough reduction (OR = 3.39, 95% CI [1.85, 6.23], P < 0.0001), recovery from shortness of breath (OR = 10.62, 95% CI [3.71, 30.40], P < 0.0001) and recovery from fatigue (OR = 2.82, 95% CI [1.44, 5.53], P = 0.003), higher total effectiveness rate (OR = 2.51, 95% CI [1.73, 3.64], P< 0.00001), and shorter time to recovery from fever (MD = –1.00, 95% CI [–1.04, 0.96], P < 0.00001), and did not increase the adverse reaction rate (OR = 0.65, 95% CI [0.42, 1.01], P = 0.06), compared to the single medication control.
The Lianhua Qingwen and Western medicine combination therapy is highly effective for COVID-19 patients and has good clinical safety. As only a small number of studies and patients were included in this review, more high-quality, multicenter, large-sample-size, randomized, double-blind, controlled trials are still needed for verification.