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The treatment of minor depression with St. John's Wort or citalopram: failure to show benefit over placebo.

Author(s): Rapaport MH, Nierenberg AA, Howland R, Dording C, Schettler PJ, Mischoulon D

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA. mark.rapaport@cshs.org

Publication date & source: 2011-07, J Psychiatr Res., 45(7):931-41. Epub 2011 May 31.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

This paper presents new data addressing two important controversies in psychiatry: the construct of Minor Depression (MinD) and the efficacy of St. John's Wort for milder forms of depressive disorders. Data are from a three-arm, 12 week, randomized clinical trial of investigating the efficacy of St. John's Wort (810 mg/day), citalopram (20 mg/day), or placebo for acute treatment of MinD. Due to a high placebo response on all outcome measures, neither St. John's Wort nor citalopram separated from placebo on change in depressive symptom severity, quality of life, or well-being. However, systematic assessment of potential adverse effects (AEs) led to three important observations: (1) prior to the administration of study compound, 60% of subjects endorsed items that would be characterized as AEs once study compound was administered, (2) St. John's Wort and citalopram were each associated with a significant number of new or worsening AEs during treatment, and (3) using a structured interview for identifying AEs at baseline and during treatment is informative. MinD was not responsive to either a conventional antidepressant or a nutraceutical, and both compounds were associated with a notable side effects burden. Other treatment approaches for MinD should be investigated. Copyright (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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