MANILA — A traditional medicine used in China to treat patients with the novel coronavirus needs further study, a doctor said Thursday, after regulators approved the drug’s sale in the Philippines.
A Chinese study found that Lianhua Qingwen herbal medicine capsules shortened the recovery time of some 200 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 and helped bring down their fever, said Philippine College of Physicians President Dr. Mario Panaligan.
Patients needed to take the capsules 12 times a day for 14 days, said Panaligan, an infectious diseases expert.
“Iko-consider pa rin po natin siyang investigational. Hihingan po natin ng informed consent ang pasyente, kamag-anak para alam nilang kailangan ng mas malawak na pag-aaral,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(We will still consider it investigational. We will ask for the informed consent of patients and their relatives so they know that it needs wider study.)
“Bagama’t mayroon na ngang isang study na nagsabi na puwede po siyang makatulong, kailangan po rin nating malaman kung safe siya, talagang walang halong side effect,” he added.
(Though there is a study stating it can help, we need to know that it’s really safe, has no side effect.)
An herbal medicine needs to be in use for at least 50 years before it is approved in the Philippines, said Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director-general Eric Domingo.
Lianhua Qingwen is “well regulated” in other parts of Asia like Singapore and Thailand. It is used to treat excessive heat, lung invasion, muscle pain, coughs, clogged nose, and fever, he said.
One needs a doctor’s prescription to buy Lianhua Qingwen in drugstores. One shouldn’t get it from markets and online stores, Domingo said.
The drug cannot be given to pregnant women and those with hypertension, he said.