Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:29-33 | Number 1, February 2008
Limb salvage in extensive diabetic foot ulceration: an extended study using a herbal supplement
PC Leung, Margaret WN Wong, WC Wong
Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To further study the clinical value of a herbal supplement in the treatment of chronic foot ulcers in diabetic patients.
DESIGN. Double-blind randomised, placebo-control trial.
SETTING. Two general hospitals in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Eighty patients were recruited according to strict selection criteria.
INTERVENTIONS. Clinical measures included standard antidiabetic treatment, daily wound care including antiseptic bath, debridement, toe removal for gangrene when necessary, and the daily consumption of a herbal drink or placebo.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. The primary outcome was limb salvage. Secondary outcomes included: granulation maturation, local temperature and circulatory changes, tumour necrosis factor–alpha levels, and adverse events.
RESULTS. Limb salvage was achieved in 85% of the patients. Among the early failures, three each came from the treatment and placebo groups. After shifting to herbal treatment (without unblinding of the original treatment), all were rescued in those initially assigned to herbal concoction (6 out of 6) while only 50% (6 out of 12) were rescued from among those initially assigned to placebo. The speed of granulation maturation, and decline in tumour necrosis factor–alpha levels indicating control of inflammation, were also more favourable with the herbal group. No serious adverse events were observed.
CONCLUSION. The herbal adjuvant therapy was effective in helping the healing of chronic diabetic ulcers.
Key words: Diabetes mellitus; Drugs, Chinese herbal; Wound healing
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