A randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trial of a standardised extract of fresh Crataegus berries in the treatment of patients with congestive heart failure NYHA II – Crataegisan – Brief Article
A placebo controlled, randomised, parallel group, multicentre trial conducted in accordance with the guidelines of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) shows the efficacy and safety of a standardised extract of fresh berries of Crataegus oxyacantha L. and monogyna Jacq. (Crataegisan) in patients with cardiac failure NYHA class II. A total of 143 patients (72 men, 71 women, mean age of 64.8 (8.0 years) were recruited and treated with 3 times 30 drops of the extract (n = 69) or placebo (n = 74) for 8 weeks. The primary variable for the evaluation of efficacy was the change in exercise tolerance determined with bicycle exercise testing, secondary variables included the blood pressure-heart rate product (BHP). Subjective cardiac symptoms at rest and at higher levels of exertion were assessed by the patient on a categorical rating scale. An overall assessment of efficacy at the final visit was provided by the patient and the investigator. In the ITT population there was a significant increase in exercise tolerance in both groups between visit 1 and visit 3. The difference between the treatment groups was 8.3 watts in favour of the standardised extract of fresh Crataegus berries (p = 0.045). The result is confirmed in the PP population (p = 0.047). Changes in BHP at 50 watts and at comparable maximum load were in favour of Crataegus extract but the results are not statistically significant. The subjective assessment of cardiac symptoms at rest and at higher levels of exertion did not change significantly and the patient and investigator overall assessment of efficacy were similar for the two groups. The medication was well tolerated and had a high level of patient acceptability. The significant improvement, due to the fact that dyspnoea and fatigue do not occur until a significantly higher wattage has been reached in the bicycle exercise testing allows the conclusion that the recruited NYHA II patients may expect an improvement in their heart failure condition under long term therapy with the standardised extract of fresh Crataegus berries.
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