Tripterigium preparations for the treatment of CKD: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Bin Zhu, Ying Wang, Meg Jardine, Min Jun, Ji-Cheng Lv, Alan Cass, Thaminda Liyanage, Hong-Yu Chen, Yong-jun Wang, Vlado Perkovic

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Preparations of the herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F are used widely for the treatment of chronic kidney disease in China. The efficacy and safety of Tripterygium preparations still have not been fully identified.Study Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.Setting & Population: Patients with chronic kidney disease.Selection Criteria for Studies: Randomized controlled trials.Intervention: Tripterygium preparations (Tripterygium glycoside tablets, Tripterygium hypoglaucum Hutch tablets, and Tripterygium granules or extracts) versus placebo, standard care, or other immunosuppressive treatment. Outcomes: Weighted mean difference and summary estimates of relative risk (RR) reductions with 95% CIs were calculated with a random-effects model. Outcomes analyzed included change in proteinuria, serum creatinine level, and creatinine clearance rate, as well as remission and relapse rate and drug-related adverse events.Results: We identified 75 trials that included 4,386 participants. Overall, Tripterygium therapy reduced proteinuria by protein excretion of 628 (95% CI, −736 to −521) mg/d and reduced serum creatinine level by 0.12 (95% CI, −0.17 to −0.06) mg/dL compared with controls (both P < 0.001) in a range of kidney conditions. Tripterygium preparations also increased the rate of complete remission by 56% (95% CI, 32%-85%; P < 0.001) and of complete or partial remission by 24% (95% CI, 17%-31%; P < 0.001) while reducing relapse by 58% (95% CI, 42%-69%; P < 0.001). Tripterygium preparations increased the rate of liver function test result abnormalities (RR, 4.03; 95% CI, 2.24-7.25; P < 0.001) and altered menstruation (RR, 5.29; 95% CI, 2.09-13.38; P < 0.001).Limitations: Suboptimal study quality, significant heterogeneity in the primary outcome.Conclusions: Tripterygium preparations may have nephroprotective effects, but high-quality trials are required to reliably determine the balance of benefits and harms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-530
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Tripterygium
  • traditional Chinese medicine
  • Chinese herbs
  • chronic kidney disease
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis
  • proteinuria
  • kidney function
  • glomerular disease


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