Background: The use of preparations from Bryophyllum pinnatum for tocolysis (or to arrest labor) is supported by observations obtained mainly at empirical level, but also by preclinical experiments performed with uterus strips and myometrium cell lines. Furthermore, a retrospective matched-pair study revealed good tolerability and effectiveness. In anthroposophic medicine, however, Bryophyllum species are used for a broad spectrum of diagnoses. Here, we characterize the prescribing pattern of Bryophyllum preparations in a network of anthroposophic physicians in Germany. Methods: 38 primary-care physicians in Germany participated in the EvaMed network, a multi-center observational study. They documented anonymized prescriptions, diagnoses and demographic data (age and gender) for each consecutive patient between 01.01.2004 and 01.01.2010. Diagnoses were coded according to the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). In the present analysis, all prescriptions of any Bryophyllum preparation in the resulting data bank were identified and the corresponding diagnoses were analyzed retrospectively. Results: A total of 4,038 prescriptions of Bryophyllum preparations were identified in the EvaMed data bank. A variety of preparations could be found, 77.7% of which were prepared from Bryophyllum plants exclusively and 22.5% were combinations. Bryophyllum preparations were often prescribed to treat ‘mental and behavioral disorders’ (ICD-10 F00–F99, 35.7%) and ‘diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue’ (L00–L99, 16.0%), followed by ‘symptoms, signs, and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified diseases’ (R00–R99, 15.2%) and ‘diseases of the nervous system’ (G00– G99, 9.7%). Conclusion: By revealing the use of Bryophyllum preparations in so many other indications than preterm delivery, our data clearly show the urgent need to conduct additional clinical trials.

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