The aim of this randomized, controlled and blinded study was to investigate safety and efficacy of Echinaforce® Junior tablets for the long-term prevention of RTIs over 4 months.
203 children aged 4 – 12 years were recruited by 13 general and pediatric practices in Switzerland. 103 children were randomly allocated to daily 3 x 1 Echinaforce® Junior tablet (400mg) and 98 children to 3 x 1 vitamin C tablet (50mg) for control.
Nasal secretions were collected during acute infections and screened for respiratory pathogens using RT-PCR (Allplex®).
The majority of children using Echinaforce® Junior remained free of RTIs and reported 32.5% fewer cold and flu episodes than the control group.
Overall, 429 cold days occurred with Echinaforce® Junior in comparison to 602 days with vitamin C.
6 children (5.8%) with Echinaforce® Junior required antibiotics on 45 days in comparison to 24 prescriptions in the vitamin C group administered over 216 days, as shown in in the graph below:
The reduction in use of antibiotics was associated with a marked 65.0% prevention of bacterial super-infections and of RTI complications (pneumonia, tonsillitis or otitis media), where 9.7% and 20.4% of children experienced 11 and 30 events with Echinaforce® Junior tablets and control, respectively. A significant reduction of influenza (3 vs. 20 detections) and of membranous virus infections overall (28 vs 47 detections) was further found for Echinacea.
In those where respiratory symptoms still occurred, these were less severe and episodes were shorter by 1.4 days with Echinaforce® Junior tablets compared to control treatment. Fever (i.e. body temperature ≥ 37.8°C) occurred on 1.6 vs. 4.9 days on average, showing a 67.3% reduction (3.3 days) in those using Echinaforce® Junior tablets.
Echinaforce® Junior tablets was non-inferior to Vitamin C with respect of safety, whereas 49.5% and 45.9% of children experienced 76 and and 105 adverse events.
The results demonstrate significant health benefits in children using Echinaforce® Junior tablets which include the principal prevention of RTIs but also the reduction of secondary complications.
Echinaforce® Junior tablets significantly prevented membranous virus infections such as influenza, which has already been seen in adults. Children demonstrate more robustness and a noticeably increased immune resistance to finally end in a significantly reduced need for antibiotic prescriptions.
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) produce a tremendous pressure on the health care provider to dispense antibiotics as a result of parent’s expectations and the difficulty in clinically differentiating viral from bacterial ethiology. Experiencing severe illness in their child, parents have little sympathy with the WHO’s recommendations to reduce antibiotics.
Prevention of RTIs could effectively solve the dilemma beforehand and Echinaforce® extract has been shown to work in adults - evidence in children was lacking so far.
Data presented at this conference provides solid evidence for the use of Echinaforce® Junior tablets extract in children nowadays. With Echinaforce® Junior tablets a children-friendly formulation is available that shows a high level of safety, acceptance and compliance.
The use of 1200 mg extract from freshly harvested Echinacea purpurea is effective and safe for the long-term prevention in children: The immune resistance is noticeably improved as manifested in a reduced number of respiratory tract infections, otitis media, pneumonia or tonsillitis (complications). In consequence, antibiotic prescriptions with Echinaforce® Junior tablets are significantly reduced.
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Jawad M, Schoop R, Suter A, Klein P, Eccles R. Safety and Efficacy Profile of Echinacea purpurea to Prevent Common Cold Episodes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012 doi:10.1155/2012/841315.
Ogal M, Klein P, Schoop R. Echinacea for the Prevention of Respiratory Tract Infections in Children 4 - 12 years: A Randomized, Blind and Controlled Study. Sociéte Suisse de Pédiatrie (SSP, Poster), 24th May, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Arroll B. Antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections: an overview of Cochrane reviews. Respiratory Medicine 2005;99:255-261.