Investigation on the use of traditional Chinese medicine for polycystic ovary syndrome in a nationwide prescription database in Taiwan

Wan Ting Liao, Jen Huai Chiang, Chia Jung Li, Ming Tsung Lee, Cheng Chiung Su, Hung Rong Yen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

26 Scopus citations


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition, affecting 5-10% of women of reproductive age worldwide. It has serious reproductive implications and causes mood disorders and metabolic disorders, such as type-2 diabetes. Because PCOS reflects multiple abnormalities, there is no single drug that can treat all its symptoms. Existing pharmaceutical agents, such as oral contraceptives (OCs), are suggested as a first-line therapy for menstrual irregularities; however, OCs are not appropriate for women pursuing pregnancy. Additionally, insulin-sensitizing agents, which appear to decrease insulin levels and hyperandrogenemia in women with PCOS, have been associated with a high incidence of gastrointestinal adverse effects. It is a common practice in Chinese society to receive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for treatment of gynecological problems and infertility. Current research demonstrates that several herbs and herbal formulas show beneficial effects in PCOS treatment. In this study, we conducted the first large-scale survey through the Taiwan National Health Insurance Program database to analyze TCM utilization patterns among women with PCOS in Taiwan during 1997-2010. The survey results revealed that 89.22% women with newly diagnosed PCOS had received TCM therapy. Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San and Xiang-Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi) were the most commonly used formula and single herb, respectively, in the database. In addition, we found that the top five commonly prescribed single herbs and herbal formulas have shown promise in treating symptoms associated with PCOS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number179
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 22 07 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Jia-wei-xiao-yao-san
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Traditional chinese medicine


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