2014 Clinical Trial : Thunder God Vine Vs Methotrexate in RA

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

The hero picture here is a wink to my 2015 alternative, 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 pre filled syringes but soon after 6 months my stock was gone and I had to adapt.

The objectives of 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).

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.

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.

Rheumatoid Arthritis = RA
Methotrexate = MTX
Thunder God Vine = TGV

3 Patients Groups

  • The first group took MTX 12.5 mg once a week.  Important to note that according to Western and other parts of the world standards this dose is low, whereas in China it is the max dose for MTX in the treatment of RA.
  • 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.


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