medical guideline


Influenza is a major public health problem worldwide. Mutations and resistance development make the use of antiviral therapy challenging. Chinese patent medicines are often used to treat influenza in China and well tolerable. However, the misuse of Chinese patent medicines is common. We therefore aimed to develop an evidence-based guideline on treating influenza with Chinese patent medicines in adults to guide clinical practice. We formed a steering committee, a consensus panel, a consultants’ group and an evidence synthesis team to guide the development of the guideline. We formulated the clinical questions through two rounds of survey, and finally selected five questions. We then systematically searched the related evidence and conducted meta-analyses, evidence summaries and GRADE decision tables to draft the recommendations, which the consensus panel then voted on using the Delphi method. Finally, we formulated six recommendations based on the evidence synthesis and experts’ consensus. For treating mild influenza, we suggest either Lianhua Qingwen capsule, Jinhua Qinggan granule, Banlangen granule, Shufeng Jiedu capsule, or Jinfang Baidu pill, depending on the manifestations. For severe influenza, or mild influenza in patients at high risk of developing severe influenza, we suggest Lianhua Qingwen capsule in combination with antiviral medications and supportive therapy. The strength of all recommendations was weak. Traditional Chinese medicine has great potential to help in the fight against influenza worldwide, but more high-quality studies are still needed to strengthen the evidence.