HawthornHeart Disease

Crataegus Extract WS 1442 is not effective congestive heart failure therapy

In people with advanced congestive heart failure (CHF) WS 1442 (aka, hawthorn) does not change the incidence of death due to progressive heart failure, fatal heart attack, or non-fatal heart attack. It also doesn’t affect the chances of being put in the hospital because of heart failure.

These results from a large European study called the SPICE study were reported during the 2007 American College of Cardiology annual meeting.

Here are the details.

  • More than 2500 patients with advanced CHF received either WS 1442 or a placebo for 2 years.
  • All patients also received usual CHF therapy.

And the results.

  • There was a 20% reduction in death due to heart disease during the first 18 months of the study — the lives of these patients were extended 4 months.
  • But after 2 years, the benefit was lost and about the same number of people in both groups had died.

Medical practitioners in Europe and China use hawthorn to treat early stages of CHF. An earlier study in patients with mild CHF showed it was well tolerated but lacked any significant treatment benefit.

The bottom line?
There seems to be a lot of wishful thinking regarding WS 1442. The title of a press release for the SPICE study claimed it “shows some benefit” when it did not. One of the researchers stated, “We cannot prove that the compound extends [the] life of these patients, but I think it’s promising.”


The study in mild CHF concluded it “is clinically effective.” Yet, there was no supporting evidence for the primary endpoint — exercise tolerance.

Frankly, the record for using complementary treatment options for CHF is — shall we say –not very complimentary.

4/9/07 00:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.