The aim of this study was to compare the reduction of venous ankle edema in randomized controlled trials of the main venoactive drugs versus a placebo or versus another venoactive drug and thereby to confirm or invalidate the existing recommendations on the pharmacological treatment of venous edema.
Publications of randomized controlled trials of venoactive drugs versus either a placebo or another venoactive drug on the reduction of ankle circumferences (AC) were searched through Medline and selected according to the Jadad and the Cucherat evaluation grids.
Ten publications dated between 1975 and 2009 including a total of 1010 patients were identified for the meta-analysis. Included were the following venoactive drugs: micronised purified flavonoid fraction (MPFF), hydroxyethylrutoside, ruscus extracts and diosmin. The mean reduction in AC was -0.80 ± 0.53 cm with MPFF , -0.58 ± 0.47 cm with ruscus extract, -0.58 ± 0.31 cm with hydroxyethylrutoside, -0.20 ± 0.5 cm with single diosmin, and -0.11 ± 0.42 cm with placebo. The reduction in AC was significantly superior to that of placebo whatever the drug concerned (P<0.0001). The comparison between MPFF, ruscus extract and hydroxyethylrutoside on the reduction of ankle edema was in favour of MPFF. This was significant (P<0.0001), while the efficacy of the latter two venoactive agents was comparable.
This meta-analysis confirms the validity of the grade A assigned to MPFF in the management of symptoms and edema in recent international guidelines.