TITLE

The experimental and clinical pharmacology of St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.)

AUTHOR(S)
Nathan, P.J.
PUB. DATE
July 1999
SOURCE
Molecular Psychiatry;1999, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p333
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Hypericum (St John's Wort) is a plant that has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Pre-clinical animals studies suggest that hypericum is effective in three major biochemical systems relevant for antidepressant activity, namely the inhibition of the synaptic re-uptake system for serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA). It is the only antidepressant capable of inhibiting the re-uptake of 5-HT, NA and DA with similar potencies. The potencies for monoamine re-inhibition and chronic changes in receptors are also consistent with changes seen with known antidepressants. Behavioral studies suggest that hypericum is active in pre-clinical animal models of depression with comparable effects to known antidepressants. Supporting the pre-clinical pharmacology and efficacy, many clinical studies have shown that hypericum has superior efficacy compared to placebo and comparable efficacy to standard antidepressants in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. The advantage of hypericum over other antidepressants may result from its favorable side-effect profile. Although pre-clinical and short-term clinical studies demonstrate antidepressant activity, the lack of long-term use and efficacy, and the heterogeneity of patients, interventions, extract preparations from previous clinical studies suggests that more careful and controlled studies are needed to determine the long-term efficacy of hypericum in mild-to-moderate depression.
ACCESSION #
9000483

 

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