Herrn Prof. Hippius zum 90. Geburtstag gewidmet.
Based on subgroup analyses of randomized, controlled clinical trials, we review the efficacy of three phytopharmaceutical drugs, respectively of the corresponding active substances silexan® (WS® 1265, lavender oil) in anxiety disorders, WS® 5570 (Hypericum extract) in major depression, and EGb 761® (Ginkgo biloba extract) in Alzheimer, vascular, or mixed type dementia, in elderly patients aged ≥ 60 years.
Four trials were eligible in each indication. Meta-analyses and analyses based on pooled raw data showed that the three drugs were significantly superior to placebo in the elderly subset, and that their treatment effects reflected in the main outcome measures (Hamilton Anxiety scale, Hamilton Depression scale, Neuropsychiatric Inventory) were comparable with those observed in the original trials without age restrictions.
The results confirm the efficacy of the three herbal active substances in elderly patients of ≥ 60 years of age. In anxiety, depression, and dementia, they thus represent efficacious and well-tolerated alternatives to synthetic drugs.