International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 921–927 | Cite as

Traditional Chinese medicine and drug-induced anaphylaxis: data from the Beijing pharmacovigilance database

  • Xiaotong Li
  • Sydney Thai
  • Wenchao Lu
  • Shusen Sun
  • Huilin Tang
  • Suodi Zhai
  • Tiansheng WangEmail author
Research Article


Background Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the major triggers for drug-induced anaphylaxis (DIA). Objective We aimed to use the Beijing pharmacovigilance database (BPD) to analyze TCM-induced DIAs in Beijing, China. Setting Drug allergy case reports from the BPD provided by the Beijing Center for Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring. Method Drug allergy cases from January 2004 to December 2014 were adjudicated. DIA triggered by TCMs were analyzed and compared with those triggered by non-TCM drugs by calculating the reported risk ratio (RRR). We also calculated the RRRs based on severe DIA and death outcomes. Main outcome measure TCMs implicated in DIAs were identified and compared with non-TCM drugs. Results TCMs accounted for 1651 (18.2%) of the total 9074 allergic cases, in which 84.4% (1393/1651) were triggered by injections. Of the TCM allergic cases, 8.5% (141) were DIAs and 7.3% (120) were severe DIAs, and three patients died from injections. The RRR between TCMs and non-TCM-induced DIAs was 0.63. When anaphylactic cases were compared between TCMs to the top four non-TCM drug triggers, RRRs were 0.73 (95% CI 0.61–0.87) for antibiotics, 0.36 (95% CI 0.29–0.44) for radiocontrast agents, 0.55 (95% CI 0.43–0.68) for chemotherapeutics, and 0.29 (95% CI 0.23–0.37) for biologics. Compared to TCM oral or topic formulations, TCM injections had higher RRRs in each of the above comparisons. Conclusion TCM was associated with a decreased risk of DIA compared to non-TCM drugs in drug allergy cases, and the risk was higher for TCM injections.


China Drug-induced anaphylaxis Pharmacovigilance Traditional Chinese medicines 



The authors would like to thank the Beijing pharmacovigilance database for providing data.


This research received no funding from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11096_2018_699_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 46 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacyPeking University Third HospitalBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute for Drug Evaluation, Peking University Health Science CenterBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacy Administration and Clinical PharmacyPeking University Health Science CenterBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesWestern New England UniversitySpringfieldUSA
  6. 6.Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public HealthIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA

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