Use of St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L) in members of a depression self-help organisation: a twelve-week open prospective pilot study using the HADS scale

This source preferred by Andrew Mayers

Authors: Mayers, A.G., Baldwin, D.S., Dyson, R., Middleton, R. and Mustapha, A.

Journal: Primary Care Psychiatry

Volume: 9

Pages: 15-20

ISSN: 1473-4885

DOI: 10.1185/135525703125002342

The findings of randomised controlled trials confirm that St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L) is effective in reducing symptoms in mild to moderate depression, but few studies have focused on the effect on anxiety symptoms.

Most studies have employed observer-rated scales to measure treatment outcome, only few used self-rated scales. We sought to examine these issues in a cohort of members of the depression self-help organisation Depression Alliance UK (n=39). Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HADS) scales were used at baseline, prior to St John’s wort administration, and for subsequent assessments at weeks 4, 8 and 12.

A subject-rated version of the Clinical Global Impression – Improvement (CGI-I) scale was employed at follow-up assessments. HADS scores were significantly reduced after taking St John’s wort, particularly for those reporting milder depression and more severe anxiety.

HADS scores compared well with patient improvement ratings, indicating the feasibility of use in this population. Controlled studies are needed in a larger cohort to examine these findings, before definitive conclusions can be made.

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