Duration of response after treatment of mild to moderate depression with Hypericum extract.
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is a useful medication in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. By reanalysis of the data obtained from a total of 154 patients, who responded in a randomised, multicentric, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, to 6 weeks of treatment for an episode of moderate depression with either 20mg citalopram or 900mg Hypericum extract STW 3-VI, the duration of response and occurrence of relapse/recurrence were evaluated.
Duration of response and occurrence of relapse/recurrence was measured by re-evaluating the responders in a controlled-clinical trial (final score of ≤10 according to HAMD at the end of the clinical trial) according to the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD).
In total, 30 (19.5%) of the 154 responders were diagnosed with a relapse. The numbers of patients with relapses were highest in the citalopram group (14 of 54), whereas patients who were treated with Hypericum extract STW 3-VI showed the lowest relapse rate (8/54); patients from the placebo group showed a relapse rate of 8/46. No difference in the severity of relapse could be observed. The duration of response was longest for the Hypericum group (1817 days), intermediate for the citalopram group (1755 days) and shortest for the placebo group (802 days).
Hypericum extract STW 3-VI is more efficient in lowering the relapse and recurrence rates of responders, when compared to citalopram and placebo. In addition, duration of response was increased in the group treated with Hypericum extract STW 3-VI.
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