HSA allows clinical trial for Lianhua Qingwen capsules used to relieve Covid-19 symptoms

To look into whether this Chinese medicine complements with the western medicine for Covid-19.

Zhangxin Zheng | April 19, 2022, 04:27 PM

Lianhua Qingwen capsules are traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that a number of people in Singapore may consume to reduce mild symptoms of Covid-19.

The capsules are now readily available at major retailers such as Watsons and FairPrice.

According to Chinese media 8world News, Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has recently given the approval to conduct a clinical trial on the use of Lianhua Qingwen capsules among Covid-19 patients in Singapore.

HSA previously issued an advisory stating that there is no scientific evidence that any herbal product, including these capsules, can treat or prevent Covid-19.

However, the Chinese medicine was approved based on the documented uses of the ingredients present in the products, and it is listed as Chinese proprietary medicines (CPMs) in Singapore for relief of cold and flu symptoms.

All herbal products formulated for common cold and flu, including CPM, should only be used to manage symptoms such as headache, runny or blocked nose, sore throat and cough, HSA added in the advisory.

Clinical trial on the use of Lianhua Qingwen capsules

The clinical trial aims to look into whether Lianhua Qingwen capsules can complement existing Covid-19 treatment.

Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution is working with two clinics on this clinical trial, according to the 8world News.

Participating Covid-19 positive patients at these two clinics are required to take the Lianhua Qingwen capsules two hours after consuming Western medicine, three times a day for seven days consecutively.

A patient who volunteered for this trial said he would receive calls every day at 1pm to check on his health condition.

The patient would also have to take Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) daily, once in the morning and once at night.

He would have to check his tongue and blood oxygen levels too.

When interviewed by 8world News, Zuraimi Bin Mohamed Dahlan, a family physician from Banyan Clinic @ JW Pte Ltd and one of the principal investigators of this study, said:

"The medicine is actually totally herbal but we want to make sure that patients don't have side effects like nausea, vomiting and liver issues like jaundice."

If there are any side effect, patients will be asked to go back to the clinic to see the doctor.

Objectives of the clinical trial

This is a randomised, placebo-controlled and double-blind study sponsored by Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution.

The trial first serves to evaluate the efficacy of these TCM capsules in reducing the mild symptoms for vaccinated patients recovering from home, who are being treated by Western medicine.

Secondly, the trial also looks at whether consuming the capsules helps Covid-19 patients test negative on ART test kits sooner, 8world News reported.

Deputy chief operating officer of Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution William Peh said as Singaporeans live with Covid-19, we have to find a treatment plan that is suitable for our residents and the living habits here.

The medical institution is looking for volunteers aged 21 to 79 to take part in this clinical trial, with a target of 300 volunteers.

Top image by Mothership