Does regular use of a complementary medicine of Olea Europe and Ficus carica have adverse effects on lipid profile and fasting blood glucose of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients under treatment with DMARD regimens containing methotrexate?

Document Type: Research article

Authors

1 Faculty of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Rheumatology, Loghman-e Hakim Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Pharmacognosy, School of pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 School of Pharmacy Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are vulnerable to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in which atherosclerosis plays a major role. In this study, the lipid profile and fasting blood sugar (FBS) of RA patients receiving a complementary medicine of olive and fig, as add-on therapy for routine disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) regimen containing low dose methotrexate (MTX), were studied. A randomized controlled clinical trial was designed. Adult RA patients were randomly allocated in two groups receiving routine DMARDs regimen (control group) and routine DMARDs regimen plus the herbal supplementary formulation of olive oil, fig and olive fruits (intervention group). Patients were followed every 4 weeks for total study period of 16 weeks. In addition to demographic and medical history of the patients, the total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride (TG), the atherogenic index of plasma (AIP) defined as log(TG/HDL-C), and the fasting blood sugar (FBS) were determined and recorded. 56 patients (control=27 and intervention=29), with mean±sd age of 50.9±12.3 years completed the study. MTX dose received by intervention and control groups were 24.30±18.39 and 17.61±15.53, respectively (p=0.11). Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that differences between lipid profile indicators and FBS in the two study groups were not statistically significant (P>0.05). No additional substantial adverse reaction was seen in the study groups. Our findings are more reassuring for patients and their doctors to trust on the safety of the investigated complementary preparation to be used as add-on therapy to manage rheumatoid arthritis.

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