Hypericum extract as effective as common anti-depressant medication

December 09, 1999

Hypericum extract versus imipramine or placebo in patients with moderate depression: randomised multicentre study of treatment for eight weeks

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Hypericum extract, manufactured from the herb St John's Wort, is just as efficacious as the prescribed drug imipramine in treating moderate depression, claim researchers from Germany in this week's BMJ.

Professor Michael Philipp from Landshut Bezirkskrankenhaus [district hospital] along with colleagues from Nuremberg and Berlin studied the efficacy and safety of hypericum extract as compared with imipramine (which is a commonly prescribed anti-depressant in Germany) and placebo in 263 patients with moderate depression.

They found that hypericum extract was more effective for reducing depression than placebo and just as effective as imipramine. Patients taking hypericum extract had the same range of side-effects as those taking placebo and less than those being treated with imipramine. Using an internationally recognised questionnaire, the authors found that quality of life (both mentally and physically) was significantly improved by taking hyeperium extract.

The authors conclude that since many depressed patients receive either no treatment or inadequate treatment after their first bout of depression, hypericum extract may be considered as an alternative first choice treatment in most cases of mild to moderate depression.

Contact:

Dr Karl-O Hiller, Senior Research Fellow, Steiner Arzneimittel, Berlin, Germany

Tel: 49-30-710-940
Fax: 49-30-712-5012 kohiller.steiner@t-online.de
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BMJ

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