Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study.

Institute for Health Care and Science, 35625 Hüttenberg, Germany.
BMJ Clinical Research (Impact Factor: 14.09). 01/2001; 322(7279):134-7. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.322.7279.134
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To compare the efficacy and tolerability of agnus castus fruit (Vitex agnus castus L extract Ze 440) with placebo for women with the premenstrual syndrome.
Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group comparison over three menstrual cycles.
General medicine community clinics. Participants: 178 women were screened and 170 were evaluated (active 86; placebo 84). Mean age was 36 years, mean cycle length was 28 days, mean duration of menses was 4.5 days.
Agnus castus (dry extract tablets) one tablet daily or matching placebo, given for three consecutive cycles.
Main efficacy variable: change from baseline to end point (end of third cycle) in women's self assessment of irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache, breast fullness, and other menstrual symptoms including bloating. Secondary efficacy variables: changes in clinical global impression (severity of condition, global improvement, and risk or benefit) and responder rate (50% reduction in symptoms).
Improvement in the main variable was greater in the active group compared with placebo group (P<0.001). Analysis of the secondary variables showed significant (P<0.001) superiority of active treatment in each of the three global impression items. Responder rates were 52% and 24% for active and placebo, respectively. Seven women reported mild adverse events (four active; three placebo), none of which caused discontinuation of treatment.
Dry extract of agnus castus fruit is an effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.

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    ABSTRACT: Herbal medicine containing Vitex agnus-castus (VAC) extract is widely used by women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in Europe, however, in Japan, clinical evidence remains to be determined. This study attempted to investigate the efficacy and safety profiles of VAC extract in Japanese patients with PMS. A multi-center, prospective, open-label, single-arm, phase 3 study was performed in Japanese women with PMS and aged 18-44 years. The patients received Prefemin(®) (Max Zeller Söhne AG, Romanshorn, Switzerland), containing 20 mg of VAC extract, once daily for three menstrual cycles. The efficacy profile was examined based on the intensity of ten PMS symptoms-irritability, depressed mood, anger, headache, bloating, breast fullness, skin disorder, fatigue, drowsiness, and sleeplessness-recorded by patients via a visual analog scale (VAS). In addition, the responder rate was calculated based on the total VAS score defined by the sum of the VAS scores of the first six symptoms mentioned above. Furthermore, physician's global assessment (PGA) scores were recorded. Adverse events including vital signs and laboratory test values were monitored as safety evaluation. Sixty-nine patients received Prefemin(®). After the first menstrual cycle, a statistically significant decrease in total VAS score was observed (P < 0.001), and the score continued to diminish for the following two cycles. Each of the ten symptom scores decreased significantly in this manner. In addition, the responder rate increased in a time-dependent manner; the rate at the third menstrual cycle was 91.0%, and almost all of the patients were without symptoms or exhibited only mild symptoms based on PGA. Eight patients exhibited non-serious adverse events, one of which was allergic dermatitis whose causal relationship with VAC was not ruled out. VAC extract improved PMS symptoms in Japanese patients, with no substantial adverse events. This is the first study to report the effect of VAC extract in Japanese patients.
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