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Effect of Panax Ginseng (G115) Capsules versus Placebo on Acute Exacerbations in Patients with Moderate to Very Severe COPD: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors Chen Y, Lin L, Wu L, Xu Y, Shergis JL, Zhang AL, Wen Z, Worsnop C, Da Costa C, Thien F, Xue CC

Received 29 October 2019

Accepted for publication 6 March 2020

Published 27 March 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 671—680

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S236425

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Chunxue Bai


Yuanbin Chen,1,* Lin Lin,1,* Lei Wu,1 Yinji Xu,1 Johannah L Shergis,2 Anthony L Zhang,2 Zehuai Wen,1 Christopher Worsnop,3 Cliff Da Costa,4 Frank Thien,5 Charlie C Xue1,2

1The Second Clinical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine and Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; 3Institute of Breathing and Sleep, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia; 4School of Science, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia; 5Department of Respiratory Medicine, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia, and Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Charlie C Xue
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, PO BOX 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
Tel +61 3 99257360
Fax +61 3 99256539
Email charlie.xue@rmit.edu.au

Purpose: Herbal medicines are commonly used by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but high quality randomized controlled trials are limited. This study evaluated the therapeutic value of ginseng capsules in reducing acute exacerbations and improving the quality of life in people with COPD.
Patients and Methods: This randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial assessed ginseng’s effects on 200 patients with moderate to very severe COPD. Ginseng capsules (200 mg, twice per day) were compared to placebo over 24 weeks. Patients were followed up for a further 24 weeks after the treatment period. The primary outcome measure was acute COPD exacerbation rate over 12 months. Secondary outcome measures were health-related quality of life, including the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). We also assessed lung function, walking distance and use of relief medication.
Results: Baseline characteristics were balanced between groups. The rate of COPD exacerbations was not statistically significant between groups after 1 year (62 participants in the ginseng group and 63 in the placebo group). Secondary outcome measures showed improvements after ginseng and placebo but results were not clinically significant. The incidence of adverse events in the two groups was similar and events were unrelated to the intervention.
Conclusion: Compared with placebo, ginseng did not reduce the rate of acute COPD exacerbations over 12 months. It was safe and well tolerated by people with moderate to very severe COPD.

Keywords: COPD, ginseng, exacerbation, quality of life, randomized controlled trial

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