Psychiatry

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‘Nature’s Own Prozac’: Effectiveness for Depression in Doubt

KEY POINT

After initial reports of efficacy in patients with mild to moderately severe depression, St. John’s wort is not faring that well in follow-up studies. This calls into question the effectiveness of the herbal product for depression—as well as the methods used in earlier studies. Further conclusions must await more extensive testing, especially additional results from an NIH-sponsored trial that compares the dietary supplement with placebo and with an SSRI.

SOURCES

Williams JW Jr et al. A systematic review of newer pharmacotherapies for depression in adults: evidence report summary. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:743–56. 

Beckman SE et al. Consumer use of St. John’s wort: a survey on effectiveness, safety, and tolerability. Pharmacotherapy. 2000;20:568–74. 

Gurley BJ et al. Discrepancies between label claims and actual content in herbal dietary supplements. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2000;57(May 15).