Treatment using Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine in hormone-dependent myasthenia gravis

Xu Fengquan and Wu Yiling

Objective: The aim of this study was to observe the therapeutic effect of integrative Chinese and Western medicine (ICWM) and single Western medicine approaches in treating patients with myasthenia gravis and summarize remedial before and after changes in acetylcholine receptor content and attenuation of repetitive nerve stimulation of electromyography of the two groups.

Methods: The Western medicine group included 18 patients treated with prednisone, and the ICWM group included 50 patients treated with Chinese traditional medicine, Zhongjiling, which has the therapeutic principle of ‘warming and coordinating Qi yang and supporting Zhenyuan.’ The period of treatment was 3 months.

Results: In the ICWM group, the cure rate was 10%, elementary rate was 18%, appearing effect rate was 42% and the total effective rate was 92%. In the Western medicine group, the rates were 6.3, 10.4, 20.8 and 77.1%, respectively. In the ICWM group, 14 patients were withdrawn from prednisone treatment (28%), 36 patients had their prednisone dose reduced (72%) and the total rate was 100%. In the Western medicine group, the rates were 0, 93.7 and 93.7%, respectively. In the ICWM group, the side-effect rate was 4% and the recrudescence rate was 2%. In the Western medicine group, the rates were 18.8 and 14.6%, respectively.

Conclusion: The ICWM approach appeared to be more effective than single Western medicine in treating myasthenia gravis patients. This approach not only had a distinct curative effect, but prednisone could also be reduced or withdrawn and hormonal side effects and recrudescence rates were decreased.