[Paleopsych] BH: St. John's Wort Matches Common Antidepressant
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Sun Apr 10 17:50:20 UTC 2005
St. John's Wort Matches Common Antidepressant
At least as effective for moderate to severe depression as drug from Prozac
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, hypericum extract WS 5570, was pitted
head-to-head against the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
(SSRI) paroxetine, sold under the trade name Paxil.
German researcher 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
St. John's wort found their symptoms in decline while just
one-third (43 out of 122) of those taking paroxetine saw remission.
People taking paroxetine also reported more side-effects, 269 compared
to 172 for St. John's wort. The most common for both treatments was
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
The research is reported in the British Medical Journal.
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