Stress is an increasing problem that can result in various psychiatric and somatoform symptoms. Among others, benzodiazepines and valerian preparations are used to treat stress symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the prescription of a fixed herbal extract combination of valerian, lemon balm, passionflower, and butterbur (Ze 185) changes the prescription pattern of benzodiazepines in hospitalized psychiatric patients. In a retrospective case-control study, anonymized medical record data from 3,252 psychiatric in-house patients were analysed over a 3.5-year period. Cases (n = 1,548) with a prescription of Ze 185 and controls (n = 1,704) were matched by age, gender, hospitalization interval, and main International Classification of Diseases, Version 10 F-diagnoses. The primary objective was to investigate the effect of Ze 185 on the prescription pattern of benzodiazepines. Secondary objectives investigated the prescriptions of concomitant drugs and effectiveness of the hospital stay. Distribution of drug classes was analysed using the WHO's anatomic-therapeutic-chemical code. Data showed that both treatment modalities had a comparable clinical effectiveness but with significantly less prescriptions of benzodiazepines in the Ze 185 group (p = .006). This is of clinical importance because suitable alternatives to benzodiazepines are desirable. To obtain more support for this hypothesis, a dedicated randomized, controlled clinical trial monitoring drug safety is required.
Keywords: Ze 185; anxiety; benzodiazepines; depression; phyto-anxiolytic; psychiatric disorders.
© 2020 The Authors. Phytotherapy Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.