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Effect of Rikkunshi-to on appetite loss found in elderly dementia patients: a preliminary study


Utumi, Yushi, Iseki, Eizo, Murayama, Norio, Nozawa, Motohiro, Kumagai, Ryo, Matsubara, Youichiro, Ichimiya, Yosuke, Arai, Heii


Psychogeriatrics: The Official Journal Of The Japanese Psychogeriatric Society, Volume: 11, No.: 1, Pages.: 34-39

Year of Publication



Background: Functional gastrointestinal symptoms are frequently found in elderly dementia patients. In such a case, we attempt treatment by the administration of antidepressants or second-generation antipsychotics. However, these medications have a risk of side-effects. In the present study, we carried out oral administration of Rikkunshi-to to elderly dementia patients with appetite loss, and examined its effects on food intake.; Methods: Six elderly dementia patients were recruited from inpatients. They showed appetite loss, but no organic abnormalities of the gastrointestinal organs. These patients were given Rikkunshi-to, at 7.5 g per day, t.i.d. for 4 weeks. We examined the food intake, weight, total protein, albumin and potassium in plasma before administration and for 4 weeks after administration. In statistical analyses, the percentage of food consumed for 4 weeks was analyzed by anova. We also examined the side-effects of Rikkunshi-to.; Results: In patient 3, we stopped investigation after 3 weeks because of the development of cholecystitis. The values of 4 weeks in patient 3 were calculated as the mean values of 4 weeks in the other five patients. anova and Tukey’s multiple comparison showed a marginally significant difference in weight between before Rikkunshi-to was given and 4 weeks after. In change of food intake, there were no significant differences between before Rikkunshi-to was given and 1 day after, 1 day and 2 days after, 2 days and 3 days after, 3 days and 1 week after, and 1 week and 2 weeks after; however, there were significant increases in food intake between other times. With regard to the side-effects, mild lower limb oedema appeared in the two patients.; Conclusion: In the present study, we showed the effect of Rikkunshi-to in improving appetite loss in elderly dementia patients. The present study suggests that Rikkunshi-to might be useful in improving functional appetite loss in elderly dementia patients, because there are no serious side-effects.; © 2011 The Authors. Psychogeriatrics © 2011 Japanese Psychogeriatric Society.

Bibtex Citation

@article{UTUMI_2011, doi = {10.1111/j.1479-8301.2010.00347.x}, url = {}, year = 2011, month = {mar}, publisher = {Wiley-Blackwell}, volume = {11}, number = {1}, pages = {34--39}, author = {Yushi UTUMI and Eizo ISEKI and Norio MURAYAMA and Motohiro NOZAWA and Ryo KUMAGAI and Youichiro MATSUBARA and Yosuke ICHIMIYA and Heii ARAI}, title = {Effect of Rikkunshi-to on appetite loss found in elderly dementia patients: a preliminary study}, journal = {Psychogeriatrics} }


adverse effects, aged, aged, 80 and over, appetite, complications, dementia, drug effects, drug therapy, drugs chinese herbal, eating disorders, effects, etiology, feeding behavior, female, food, humans, intake, japan, loss, male, phytotherapy, rikkunshito, therapeutic use

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Before and After Study

Type of Outcomes

Other, Physical Health

Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions, Treatment/prevention of co-morbidities or additional risks

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Antipsychotics and antidepressants