Echinacea minimally reduces cold symptoms, study finds
MADISON, Wis. — An over-the-counter herbal supplement believed to improve immunity function has minimal impact in relieving the common cold, according to research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health released Monday.
The study, published in this month’s Annals of Internal Medicine, found that echinacea reduced the duration of the cold by seven to 10 hours. Bruce Barrett, lead researcher and associated professor of family medicine suggested that was not considered a significant decrease.
"Trends were in the direction of benefit, amounting to an average half-day reduction in the duration of a week-long cold or an approximate 10% reduction in overall severity," Barrett stated. "However, this dose regimen did not make a large impact on the course of the common cold, compared either to blinded placebo or to no pills."
The randomized trial involved more than 700 people between 12 and 80 years old. The subjects, all of whom had very early symptoms of a cold, were divided into four groups. One group received no pills, a second group received what they knew was echinacea and a third group was given either echinacea or a placebo, but they did not know which. Participants recorded their symptoms twice a day for the duration of the cold, up to two weeks.
Barrett suggested a larger trial involving people who have found echinacea useful may help provide more answers. He added that there were no side effects seen, so there is no reason that cold sufferers should stop using echinacea if they think it helps them. "Adults who have found echinacea to be beneficial should not discontinue use based on the results of this trial, as there are no proven effective treatments and no side effects were seen," he said.
Prilosec OTC’s ‘Heartburn gone … power on’ tagline nixed by NAD
NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Tuesday ruled that Procter & Gamble provided reasonable support for claims that Prilosec OTC provides “superior acid control” over a competing product, Prevacid 24HR. However, the NAD recommended P&G discontinue a comparative claim made in a context that doesn’t reference acid control, the review board added.
P&G’s Prilosec OTC claims were challenged by Novartis Consumer Health, maker of Prevacid 24HR. Claims at issue included:
In a head-to-head study Prilosec OTC had “superior acid control” over Prevacid 24HR;
Prilosec OTC provides “longer” and “superior acid control” over Prevacid 24HR;
Prilosec OTC provided some patients more than 2x longer acid control than Prevacid 15 mg (OTC);
Only 10% of Prevacid prescriptions are 15 mg, while Prilosec OTC contains the same medicine at the same dose as its leading Rx formulation; and
The implied claim that Prilosec OTC treats heartburn better than or offers superior heartburn relief to Prevacid 24HR.
The NAD determined that P&G provided a reasonable basis for claims that referenced “superior,” “longer” and “2x longer” acid control. The NAD further recommended that the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose the extent and limitations of its support for the claims.
The claim “only 10% of Prevacid prescriptions” are written at the 15-mg dose in Prevacid 24HR, while “Prilosec OTC contains the same medicine at the same dose as its leading Rx formulation,” appeared separately in a context that did not reference acid control. The claim was accompanied by the tagline “Heartburn gone … power on.”
NAD found that claim, in a comparative context that concerned the elimination of heartburn symptoms, could be understood to mean that Prilosec OTC is superior to Prevacid 24HR at relieving heartburn symptoms in frequent heartburn sufferers — a claim for which the advertiser provided no direct scientific evidence.
The NAD recommended that the claim be discontinued.
P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company was disappointed that the NAD found fault with the claim in the context of the “Heartburn gone … power on” tagline, the company has agreed to comply with the NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the claim in the challenged context, and to take the NAD’s decision into account in future advertising.
FRS taps Tim Tebow as spokesman
FOSTER CITY, Calif. — The FRS Co., the manufacturer of FRS Healthy Energy products, on Tuesday named Denver Bronco first-round pick Tim Tebow to its FRS Healthy Energy team as its latest professional athlete spokesman.
"I am excited to officially be a part of the FRS team," Tebow said. "I use their products regularly and can honestly say that I believe FRS has helped me perform at my best on and off the field. I look forward to sharing my FRS story with fans and spreading the word on this amazing brand."
Tebow’s relationship with FRS will include appearing in the company’s marketing and advertising campaigns and acting as a brand ambassador within the professional, college and high school athletics community. FRS also is committed to work alongside Tebow and his charity, beginning immediately with a fundraiser at FRS.com in which FRS will donate 25% from the purchases of Tebow’s favorite FRS products to the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Tebow joins seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher, mountain climber Jordan Romero and a growing number of Americans who have adopted FRS to enhance their personal performance.