To summarize and evaluate the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children.
Thirteen electronic databases were searched from their inception to November 2016. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the efficacy of herbal medicines alone or in combination with other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for ASD in children were included. The Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool was used and other data analyses were performed using RevMan (Version 5.3).
Ten RCTs involving 567 patients with ASD were included for qualitative synthesis. In conjunction with conventional therapy, herbal medicines significantly improved the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) score, but the results of effects on total effective rate (TER) were different between the included studies. The use of herbal medicines with integrative therapy improved the CARS score and TER. In the studies that documented adverse events, no serious events were associated with herbal medicines.
The efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of ASD appears to be encouraging but was inconclusive owing to low methodological quality, herbal medicine diversity, and small sample size of the examined studies.
Copyright © 2017 Miran Bang et al.
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