Oral Echinacea purpurea extract in low-grade, steroid-dependent, autoimmune idiopathic uveitis: a pilot study.
Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Aug;112(2 Pt 1):265-70. PMID: 17238809
AIM: The aim of to test efficacy and safety of Echinacea purpurea (echinacea) extract in the control of low-grade uveitis. METHODS: Fifty-one (51) patients with low-grade, steroid dependent, autoimmune uveitis were recruited; posterior uveitis was excluded. The start therapy was represented by topical desamethazone for anterior uveitis and oral prednisone, rapidly tapered, for anterior uveitis with inflammatory scores equal to +2 and in all cases of intermediate uveitis. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) decrease or improvement was defined as a reduction or increase of 2 or more letters seen from the initial BCVA; ETDRS chart was used. Thirty-two (32) patients (21 with anterior uveitis and 11 with intermediate uveitis) received Echinacea (150 mg twice/day) as add-on therapy, whereas 20 patients (10 with anterior uveitis and 9 with intermediate uveitis) were treated with the conventional steroid therapy alone. RESULTS: Thirty-one (31) patients showed anterior uveitis and 20 intermediate uveitis. The follow-up duration was 9 months. At the last follow-up, 19/21 patients with anterior uveitis and 9/11 with intermediate uveitis treated with echinacea presented uveitis settled, with a steroid-off time of 209 and 146 days, respectively. BCVA was stable or improved in 19/21 of anterior uveitis and 9/11 of intermediate uveitis. No adverse reactions supposed to be resulting from commercial-grade echinacea were recorded. Patients who did not receive echinacea required a longer treatment period with steroids with a steroid-off time of 121 and 87 days. CONCLUSIONS: Systemic echinacea appears safe and effective in the control of low-grade autoimmune idiopathic uveitis.