Efficacy and safety of berberine for congestive heart failure secondary to ischemic or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy


      This study was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of berberine for chronic congestive heart failure (CHF). One hundred fifty-six patients with CHF and >90 ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) and/or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) on 24-hour Holter monitoring were randomly divided into 2 groups. All patients were given conventional therapy for CHF, consisting of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, digoxin, diuretics, and nitrates. Patients in the treatment group (n = 79) were also given berberine 1.2 to 2.0 g/day. The remaining 77 patients were given placebo. Symptoms, a 6-minute walk test, left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF), frequency and complexity of VPCs, and quality of life were assessed after 8 weeks of treatment and during a mean 24-month follow-up. After treatment with berberine, there was a significantly greater increase in LVEF, exercise capacity, improvement of the dyspnea–fatigue index, and a decrease of frequency and complexity of VPCs compared with the control group. There was a significant decrease in mortality in the berberine-treated patients during long-term follow-up (7 patients receiving treatment died vs 13 on placebo, p <0.02). Proarrhythmia was not observed, and there were no apparent side effects. Thus, berberine improved quality of life and decreased VPCs and mortality in patients with CHF.
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