10:03pm Tuesday 14 July 2020

Herbal trials a first for psoriasis and eczema treatment

Two clinical trials will be run at the Health Sciences Research Hub at RMIT’s Bundoora campus for the conditions psoriasis vulgaris and atopic eczema, which affect up to a third of the Australian population.

Spearheaded by Professor Charlie Xue, Head of the School of Health Sciences, the trials will adopt rigorous trial methodologies to evaluate changes in symptom severity, measure health-related quality of life, and evaluate the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine for the chronic conditions.

“Psoriasis and eczema can be effectively managed with current pharmaceutical medications, but there is a risk of side effects,” Professor Xue said.

“Evidence from systematic reviews suggests Chinese herbal medicine may be helpful in reducing the symptoms seen in these conditions.

“Psoriasis is a chronic, painful and disabling disease for which there is no cure.

“The RMIT psoriasis trial will use a similar herbal preparation to one used in a recent Chinese trial, which showed benefit for the condition.

“The formulation has since been optimised and will now be evaluated in Australia.”

Both trials have been registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, and are sponsored by the China-Australia International Research Centre for Chinese Medicine.

The trials will involve 12 weeks of treatment, with participants randomly allocated to receive either herbal preparations or a placebo. Participants in both studies will be followed up for up to 12 weeks after finishing the trial medication to assess the change in their symptoms.

Researchers are looking for 30 people aged 18-70 who have had plaque type (vulgaris) psoriasis for at least one year, and another 30 children aged 6-16 with atopic eczema.

Potential participants for both studies are invited to contact RMIT’s School of Health Sciences by phone (03) 9925 7741 (psoriasis trial) or (03) 9925 7375 (atopic eczema trial).

For more information, see other RMIT Health Sciences projects and trials.

For interviews and general media enquiries: Rebecca McGillivray, 0433 262 865

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