Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F is a plant of the genus Tripterygium of the family celastraceae. Many preparations, mainly from its root, have been used clinically, among which the polyglycoside (TP) has shown better effects.
Many side-effects, however, have been reported. About 45% of patients who received TP complained of such adverse effects as skin rashes
, skin pigmentation, stomatitis
and softening of finger nails. In female patients treated with TP, reduction of menses
was noted 4 weeks after initiation of therapy, and amenorrhea
was observed in 30% and 90% of the cases respectively 3 months after and 6 months after starting use of the extract.
Amongst male patients, sperm count and motility
was reduced and the sperm disappeared completely after a month. In general, the longer the duration of administration and the older the patients, the smaller the probability of their menses
or sperm returning to normal. Frequent upper abdominal pain
and reduced appetite were also reported, and impairment of hepatic
functions appeared in a few cases. [Chin Med J (Taipei) 1996; 57: S35