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Plant Extract Outperforms Conventional Therapy in RA Study

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According to the results of an open-label randomized trial, a plant extract used in traditional Chinese medicine has proven just as effective as conventional therapy for short-term relief of rheumatoid arthritis.

The plant extract was even more effective when given in combination with the conventional treatment, methotrexate, say the study's authors.

According to their findings, after six months, 46.4 percent of patients given methotrexate had improved by at least 50 percent on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR50) criteria; compare that to 55.1 percent of patients given extract Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF).

When given both, patients improved by 76.8 percent according to the ACR50, say Xuan Zhang, MD, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, and colleagues.

Their findings have been reported online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

This study "showed that TwHF monotherapy was not inferior to, and combination therapy of methotrexate and TwHF was better than, methotrexate monotherapy in controlling disease activity in patients with active RA," Zhang and colleagues stated.

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