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Aim: This study investigated the ability of some herbal formulations to ameliorate extra-articular effects of some herbal formulations used in the management of rheumatoid arthritis in Nigeria.
Methodology: Forty-nine (49) female albino Wistar rats were used for this study. They were divided into seven groups: A, B, C, D, E, F and G of seven rats each, with Group A serving as negative control while Group B was a positive control. Groups B, C, D, E, F and G were induced with rheumatoid arthritis by injecting 0.1 ml of Complete Freund's Adjuvant into the right hind paw of each rat. The rats were treated with the standard drug and herbal formulations respectively for 28 days as follows: Group C (treated with a standard drug, Celebrex), Group D (treated with the herbal drug, Jointeez), Group E (treated with a herbal drug, Arthropower), Group F (treated with combination therapy of Jointeez and Celebrex) and Group G (treated with combination therapy of Arthropower and Celebrex). At the end of the 28-day treatment period, the rats were anaesthetized with chloroform and sacrificed through puncture of the jugular vein. Five millilitres (5 ml) of blood samples were put into plain bottles for the analysis of biochemical parameters and 3 ml into K3EDTA bottles for haematological analysis. The lipid parameters were analysed using Mindray autoanalyzer while haematological parameters were determined using Sysmex haematology auto analyzer.
Results: Total cholesterol (p<0.001), HDL (p=0.005) and LDL (p=0.004) were significantly reduced in the treated rats compared to the positive control group. Conversely, Packed Cell Volume (p<0.001) and Haemoglobin levels (p<0.001) were significantly reduced in the positive control rats compared to the treated rats. However, Total WBC count was significantly higher in the positive control rats than in the treated rats (p=0.001). The combination therapies used in this study did not offer a significantly different therapeutic advantage over the monotherapies used. The herbal formulations gave therapeutic effects on the extra-articular effects similar to that obtained from the orthodox drug used in this study.
Conclusion: The herbal formulations can be used as alternative regimens for rheumatoid arthritis. It is recommended that herbal formulations be considered for integration into our healthcare system for the management of rheumatoid arthritis.
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