Effects of Chinese herbal medicine in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: A nationwide cohort study in Taiwan

Objectives

Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects elderly males, with progression presenting the risk of urinary complications and eventual surgical intervention. We aimed to evaluate the effects of Chinese herbal medicine in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Methods

This retrospective cohort study analyzed claims data in Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database from 2001 to 2013. A total of 4142 patients newly diagnosed as benign prostatic hyperplasia were enrolled and divided into cohorts of Chinese herbal medicine users and nonusers by performing 1:1 propensity score matching. The risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia-related complications was assessed by the Cox proportional hazard model. The cumulative incidence of benign prostatic hyperplasia-related surgeries was assessed by Kaplan–Meier method.

Results

During the study period, the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia-related complications was lower in the Chinese herbal medicine cohort than non-Chinese herbal medicine cohort with an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.82 (95% confidence interval 0.73–0.92) after controlling for multiple variables. Subgroup analysis revealed that Chinese herbal medicine users had a significantly lower risk of urinary tract infection (adjusted hazard ratio 0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.50–0.89) and urinary retention (adjusted hazard ratio 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.72–0.97). In addition, Chinese herbal medicine users also had a lower incidence rate of benign prostatic hyperplasia-related surgery (32.14 vs 40.20, adjusted hazard ratio 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.61–0.89) and a longer surgery-free interval than non-Chinese herbal medicine users (3.98 vs 3.00 mean person-year, P?<?0.001). Data revealed Salviae miltiorrhizae and Ji-Sheng-Shen-Qi-Wan as the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal medicine by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

Conclusions

Our study demonstrated that Chinese herbal medicine might have effects in the benign prostatic hyperplasia-related complications and surgeries in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.