Traditional Chinese Medicine for Stroke – no significant effect

A Chinese herbal combination, NeuroAid, was studied in a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 1100 patients. There was no statistical difference in the outcomes between the treatment arm and the placebo arm.

Ref: Chinese Medicine Neuroaid Efficacy on Stroke Recovery A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Study

Further reading in Medscape:

NeuroAid (MLC601), a traditional Chinese medicine that combines extracts of 9 herbal and 5 animal components in capsule form, has been shown to restore neurologic and cellular function in animal models of ischemic stroke, Chen reported. Clinical studies in the long-term treatment of stroke patients (2 weeks to 6 months after stroke) showed NeuroAid to be associated with improved recovery in terms of functional outcome and neurologic disability, but these studies were not placebo controlled, he added.

The CHIMES study investigated the use of NeuroAid in acute, moderately severe stroke. Conducted in Southeast Asia (90% of patients were from Singapore/Philippines, with the others from Malaysia and Thailand), the study involved a total of 1100 patients with a National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score 6 to 14 who were randomly assigned to either active treatment NeuroAid or placebo. The medication was started within 72 hours of stroke onset and was continued for 3 months.

The primary outcome — shift in the modified Rankin scale (mRS) — showed a nonsignificant trend toward benefit in the active-treatment group (odds ratio [OR], 1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86 – 1.32).

An mRS score of 0 to 1 at 3 months, a secondary endpoint, showed an OR of 1.11 (95% CI, 0.86 – 1.42) in favor of NeuroAid. The researchers point out that both of these ORs are higher than those in recently completed stroke neuroprotection trials.

No statistical difference was seen for any of the other secondary outcomes, which included NIHSS improvement, difference in NIHSS total and motor scores, Barthel index, and Mini–Mental State Examination scores.

Subgroup analyses showed no statistical heterogeneity for the primary outcome; however, a trend toward benefit in the subgroup receiving treatment beyond 48 hours after stroke onset was noted.

Adverse effects were similar for the 2 groups.