Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2021 June, 254(2)

Treatment of COVID-19-Related Olfactory Disorder Promoted by Kakkontokasenkyushin'i: A Case Series

Shin Takayama,1,2,3 Ryutaro Arita,1,2 Rie Ono,1,2 Natsumi Saito,1,2 Satoko Suzuki,1,2 Akiko Kikuchi,1,2,3 Minoru Ohsawa,1,2,3 Yasunori Tadano,2 Tetsuya Akaishi,2 Junichi Tanaka,2 Takeshi Kanno,2 Michiaki Abe,2 Ko Onodera2 and Tadashi Ishii1,2,3

1Department of Kampo Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
2Department of Education and Support for Regional Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
3Department of Kampo and Integrative Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

Olfactory disorders are one of the characteristic symptoms of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), which causes infection and inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory tract. To our knowledge, there are no treatments for COVID-19-related olfactory disorder. Here, we report five olfactory disorder cases in COVID-19, treated using the Japanese traditional (Kampo) medicine, kakkontokasenkyushin'i. We treated five patients with mild COVID-19 at an isolation facility using Kampo medicine, depending on their symptoms. Patients with the olfactory disorder presented with a blocked nose, nasal discharge or taste impairment. Physical examination using Kampo medicine showed similar findings, such as a red tongue with red spots and sublingual vein congestion, which presented as blood stasis and inflammation; thus, we prescribed the Kampo medicine, kakkontokasenkyushin'i. After administration, the numeric rating scale scores of the smell impairment improved within 3 days from 9 to 3 in case 1, from 10 to 0 in case 2, from 9 to 0 in case 3, from 5 to 0 in case 4, and from 9 to 0 within 5 days in case 5. Following the treatment, other common cold symptoms were also alleviated. Kakkontokasenkyushin'i can be used for treating nasal congestion, rhinitis, and inflammation in the nasal mucosa. The olfactory disorder in COVID-19 has been reportedly associated with inflammation and congestion, especially in the olfactory bulb and olfactory cleft. Kakkontokasenkyushin'i may be one of the treatment alternatives for the olfactory disorder with rhinitis in patients with COVID-19.

Key words —— blocked nose; coronavirus disease; kakkontokasenkyushin'i; Kampo medicine; olfactory disorder

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Tohoku J. Exp. Med 2021, 254, 71-80.

Correspondence: Shin Takayama, Department of Kampo Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan.

e-mail: takayama@med.tonoku.ac.jp