Objectives The purpose of this study was to review and evaluate the clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of treatment based on Sasang constitutional medicine (SCM) for post-stroke patients by systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), published in 10 electronic databases up to December 2020, were searched. For the included studies, Cochrane’s risk of bias assessment was performed to analyze the methodological quality. The strength of evidence was evaluated using the grading of recommendations assessment, development, and evaluation system based on the results of analyses. All review processes were performed by two independent researchers.
Results Five RCTs were finally included. All included RCTs were conducted for one month on post-stroke patients in 60-80s, four studies on Tae-Eum patients and one study on So-Yang patients. Four types of constitution-specific herbal medicine (Chungpyesagan-tang, Cheongsimsanyak-tang, Yeoldahanso-tang, and Yangkyuksanhwa-tang) and constitution- specific acupuncture therapy were identified as interventions. More than half of the included studies were evaluated as low quality due to the high-risk of bias in selection, performance, and detection. The combination of constitution-specific herbal medicine, acupuncture, and conventional treatment was more effective in improving the patients’ motor impairment, dysphagia, aphasia, and depression than conventional treatment alone. No serious adverse events by SCM treatment were reported.
Conclusions SCM treatment may improve the sequelae of post-stroke patients safely in combination with conventional treatment. Since the quality of clinical evidence included in this study was low, higher quality clinical evidence obtained in well-designed clinical studies will be needed.