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Clinical effects of traditional Chinese herbal medicine management in patients with COVID-19 sequelae: A hospital-based retrospective cohort study in Taiwan.

Introduction: An estimated 43% of COVID-19 patients showed sequelae, including fatigue, neurocognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and smell or taste disorders. These sequelae significantly affect an individual's health, work capacity, healthcare systems, and socioeconomic aspects. Traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) management showed clinical benefits in treating patients with COVID-19 sequelae. This study aimed to analyze the effects of personalized TCHM management in patients with COVID-19 sequelae. Methods: After the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, we recorded Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Assessment Tool (CAT), Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire (CFQ-11), and Brief Symptom Rating Scale (BSRS-5) to assess post-COVID respiratory, fatigue, and emotional distress symptoms, respectively. In this study, we retrospectively reviewed the medical records between July 2022 and March 2023. We analyzed the effects of TCHM administration after 14- and 28-days of treatment. Results: 47 patients were included in this study. The results demonstrated that personalized TCHM treatment significantly improved the CAT, CFQ-11, and BSRS-5 scores after 14 and 28 days. TCHM alleviated physical and psychological fatigue. In logistic regression analysis, there was no statistically significant differences in the severity of the baseline symptoms and TCHM administration effects concerning the duration since the initial confirmation of COVID-19, sex, age, or dietary preference (non-vegetarian or vegetarian). Conclusions: Our study suggested that personalized TCHM treatment notably reduced fatigue, respiratory and emotional distress symptoms after 14- and 28-days of treatment in patients with COVID-19 sequelae. We propose that TCHM should be considered as an effective intervention for patients with COVID-19 sequelae.

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