Prescription patterns and factors influencing the use of Chinese herbal medicine among pregnant women in Taiwan: a population-based retrospective study.BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Jul 30; 20(1):240.BC
The use of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been widely promoted as a natural and safe way to treat illness during pregnancy. However, prescription patterns and factors influencing its use are largely unknown. Therefore, we conducted a population-based study to address these questions.
Pregnant women aged 18-50 years were selected from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database between 2001 to 2011. CHM prescriptions and diagnostic records were collected. Demographic data and pre-existing diseases were compared between CHM users and non-users. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify possible factors influencing the use of CHM during pregnancy.
A total of 81,873 eligible prescription records were identified, and 16,553 pregnant women were prescribed CHM during pregnancy, yielding a CHM prescription rate of 20.2%. The three most frequently used herbs were Scutellariae Radix (Huang Qin) (4.4%), Eucommiae cortex (Du Zhong) (2.5%), and Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) (2.4%). The most frequently used herbal formulae were Dang-Guei-Shao-Yao-San (4.1%), Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San (3.5%), and Xiang-Sha-Liu-Jun-Zi-Tang (2.6%). Multivariate logistic regression revealed that subjects with an older age, a university education, a pre-pregnancy history of CHM use, asthma, chronic renal disease, and cardiac valvular disease and living in a residential area other than northern Taiwan had an increase in adjusted odds ratio for CHM use during pregnancy.
In this population-based study, we found that demographic factors and pre-existing diseases were associated with the use of CHM among pregnant women. It is worth noting that Leonuri Herba (Yi Mu Cao) and Shao-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang should be used with caution in the first trimester. Further research is needed to explore the safety and effectiveness of the use of CHM in pregnant women.