[Paleopsych] BH: St. John's Wort Matches Common Antidepressant

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St. John's Wort Matches Common Antidepressant

At least as effective for moderate to severe depression as drug from Prozac

    Betterhumans Staff
    2/10/2005 5:41 PM

    Flower power: St. John's wort has been found as effective for moderate
    to severe depression as a common antidepressant

    A special extract of St. John's wort has been found at least as
    effective for some forms of depression as a common antidepressant in
    the same family as Prozac.

    The herbal treatment, [8]hypericum extract WS 5570, was pitted
    head-to-head against the [9]selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
    (SSRI) [10]paroxetine, sold under the trade name [11]Paxil.

    German researcher [12]Armin Szegedi and colleagues tested both
    treatments on 301 people aged 18 to 70 with moderate or severe
    depression at German mental health centers.

    Participants took the drugs in a randomized, controlled, double-blind
    study over a six week period during 2000 to 2003.

    At the trial's conclusion, half the participants (61 of 122) who took
    [13]St. John's wort found their symptoms in decline while just
    one-third (43 out of 122) of those taking paroxetine saw remission.

    Fewer side-effects

    People taking paroxetine also reported more side-effects, 269 compared
    to 172 for St. John's wort. The most common for both treatments was
    stomach disorders.

    The findings are considered important because while St. John's wort
    has been found more effective than placebo in treating mild to
    moderate depression, and as effective as several antidepressants, its
    efficacy for more severe depression has been disputed.

    "The results thus indicate that in a group of patients in whom the
    appropriateness of hypericum extract was previously disputed, the
    antidepressant efficacy of the herbal drug is at least comparable with
    the effect of one of the leading synthetic antidepressants," the
    researchers conclude.

    The research is reported in the [14]British Medical Journal.


    8. http://www.google.ca/search?q=hypericum+extract+WS+5570
    9. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor
   10. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paroxetine
   11. http://www.paxil.com/
   12. http://www.medizin.fu-berlin.de/psyche/english/about/cv/szegedi_e.html
   13. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John's_Wort
   14. http://www.bmj.com/

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