Efficacy and tolerability of a spray with Salvia officinalis in the treatment of acute pharyngitis - a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with adaptive design and interim analysis

Eur J Med Res. 2006 Jan 31;11(1):20-6.


Objective: This randomised, double-blind, parallel group phase II/III study with adaptive two-stage design and interim analysis compared the efficacy and tolerability of spray (containing a Salvia officinalis fluid extract) against placebo in the treatment of patients with acute viral pharyngitis. -

Study participants: in two study parts, a total of 286 patients with subjective and objective evidence of pharyngitis were randomized. In the first study part 122 patients were enrolled. In the second study part 164 patients were included. The treatment duration per patient was 3 days, including one baseline visit and one final visit. -

Main outcome measures: Area under Curve for change of throat pain intensity (spontaneous pain), documented every 15 minutes within the first 2 hours after the first application as compared to baseline using a visual analog scale (VAS 100 mm). -

Results: Following the interim analyses of the first study part the 15 % spray containing 140 microl sage extract per dose was the most promising preparation for the second study part (main study) whereas for the 30% and the 5% preparation results made superiority over placebo unlikely in the final analysis. Overall, the 15 % spray was significantly superior to placebo for the primary efficacy variable with regard to a reduction of the throat pain intensity score. Only minor side effects such as dry pharynx or burning of mild intensity were seen. -

Conclusions: The efficacy and tolerability profile of a 15 % sage spray indicated that this preparation provides a convenient and safe treatment for patients with acute pharyngitis. A symptomatic relief occurred within the first two hours after first administration and was statistically significantly superior to placebo.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Pharyngitis / complications
  • Pharyngitis / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal / adverse effects
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Research Design*
  • Salvia officinalis / adverse effects
  • Salvia officinalis / chemistry*


  • Analgesics
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts