Petasites Study Group. Randomised controlled trial of butterbur and cetirizine for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis

Allergy Clinic, Hochwangstrasse 3, CH-7302 Landquart, Switzerland.
BMJ Clinical Research (Impact Factor: 14.09). 02/2002; 324(7330):144-6. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.324.7330.144
Source: PubMed


To compare the efficacy and tolerability of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) with cetirizine in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Randomised, double blind, parallel group comparison.
Four outpatient general medicine and allergy clinics in Switzerland and Germany.
131 patients were screened for seasonal allergic rhinitis and 125 patients were randomised (butterbur 61; cetirizine 64).
Butterbur (carbon dioxide extract tablets, ZE 339) one tablet, four times daily, or cetirizine, one tablet in the evening, both given for two consecutive weeks.
Scores on SF-36 questionnaire and clinical global impression scale.
Improvement in SF-36 score was similar in the two treatment groups for all items tested hierarchically. Butterbur and cetirizine were also similarly effective with regard to global improvement scores on the clinical global impression scale (median score 3 in both groups). Both treatments were well tolerated. In the cetirizine group, two thirds (8/12) of reported adverse events were associated with sedative effects (drowsiness and fatigue) despite the drug being considered a non-sedating antihistamine.
The effects of butterbur are similar to those of cetirizine in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis when evaluated blindly by patients and doctors. Butterbur should be considered for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis when the sedative effects of antihistamines need to be avoided.

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Available from: Andreas Schapowal, Mar 26, 2014
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    • "Butterbur has been extensively studied, especially related to its beneficial effects in allergic rhinitis. In a comparative, randomized study in 125 patients with SAR, both butterbur (butterbur-carbon dioxide extract tablets, Ze 339; 1 tablet, 4 times/day; n = 61) and cetirizine (1 tablet each evening; n = 64) were effective in improving SF-36 and global improvement scores [20]. However, sedative effects were observed in the cetirizine group. "
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    • "The PET extract was manufactured using liquid carbon dioxide with leaves of the cultivated Petasites variety PETZELL. The identical extract had already been used in clinical trials (Schapowal, 2002, 2004, 2005; Thomet et al., 2002). "
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