2014 Clinical Trial : Thunder God Vine Vs Methotrexate

2014 Clinical Trial : Thunder God Vine Vs Methotrexate
August 21, 2017 Nathalie

A randomized controlled trial

The hero picture here is a wink to my past alternative, in 2015, visually very exactly as it was. On the left, a natural herbal medicinal extract for which I had mild expectations considering the severity of my symptoms. On the right, injectable Methotrexate Thai style: a bulk product I had to manage by myself. When I arrived from France I had piled up many pre filled syringes but soon after 6 months my stock was gone and I had to adapt.

The trial

This trial compares the efficacy and safety of  Thunder God Vine VS Methotrexate and in combination with Methotrexate.

Patients: 207 patients recently diagnosed, having active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Duration: 24 weeks (6 months).

Rheumatoid Arthritis = RA

Methotrexate = MTX

Thunder God Vine = TGV

In China, Thunder God Vine is approved and a first line choice to treat RA.

This trial was designed at the Beijing Peking Union Medical College Hospital. As a matter of fact, 20 000 new cases of RA are treated every year in this hospital with medicinal Thunder God Vine, in most cases in combination with low doses of MTX with outstanding results.

3 Groups: TGV, Methotrexate and combination

  • The first group took MTX 12.5 mg once a week. This can seem a light treatment compared to what we tend to get in other parts of the world but in China it is a standard high range dosage for MTX in the treatment of RA. Here I quote the discussion of the study: Whether the results would have been altered if the patients had received higher doses of MTX is unknown, although this seems unlikely as the levels of responsiveness in this trial were much greater than previously reported in similar patients given MTX monotherapy.
  • The second group took 30mg 3 times a day (90 mg per day) of Thunder God Vine. The TGV they used is the type of medicinal extract described throughout this whole website: tablets of 10mg with a prescription range of 1 to 1,5 mg/kg/day.
  • The third group took both of the above : 12.5 mg MTX once a week + 90 mg Thunder God Vine per day


The result evaluate the number of patients reaching the American College of Rheumatology score of at least 50 (ACR50) or higher at week 24 (6 months).

  • MTX alone: 46.4%
  • Medicinal Thunder God Vine alone: 55.1%
  • Medicinal TGV + MTX 76.8%

The ACR score is a standardized score indicating how much a person’s RA has improved. The measure takes in consideration the number of painful / swollen joints, the patient’s assessments, the physician’s assessment and the measured levels of inflammation in blood tests.

The ACR is a percentage. An ACR20 means that a person’s RA has improved by 20%, an ARC50 means an improvement of 50%, and ACR70 of 70%.

Other interesting facts

During the trial, patients could continue to take anti-inflammatory drugs. Namely NSAIDs such as Naproxene and not over 10 mg Prednisone or equivalent per day.

Most patients (203 from a total of 207) never used any DMARD or biologic before as they were recently diagnosed.

Summary of the study conclusions

To summarize, the study conclusion is that Thunder God Vine as a monotherapy is not inferior to MTX. Thunder God Vine + MTX therapy was more effective than MTX monotherapy alone.

Adverse events and severe adverse events of Thunder God Vine monotherapy was not higher than in MTX monotherapy.


If you are interested to read the whole study, I will gladly share it with you. Hereafter is the link to the study abstract. It is available from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website (publisher):
Comparison of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F with MTX in the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (TRIFRA): a randomised, controlled clinical trial.

“Why put our health only in the hands of others while we can learn everything we can and empower ourselves…”

Methotrexate vs Thunder God Vine

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