Friday, February 11, 2005

Bad day to own stock in GlaxoSmithKline (notice the second-to-last line before rushing to judgement though)
A new study published in the online edition of the British Medical Journal shows that the herbal supplement St. John's Wort is just as effective as the prescription drug Paxil in treating moderate and even severe depression.

The study examined 251 patients who were suffering from major depression. Half of the patients were given 900 milligrams of St. John's Wort and half 20 milligrams of Paxil. Dosages of either treatment were increased if the patient did not respond to the medication.

After six weeks of treatment, 71 percent of the subjects taking St. John's Wort showed improvement while 60 percent of those taking Paxil had a positive response to treatment. Roughly half of the patients taking the herbal supplement and 35 percent of the patients taking the prescription drugs reported the eliminiation of their depression.

Previous research had not shown that St. John's Wort was effective at treating major cases of depression. It was considered helpful in treating minor cases but not severe depression.

One thing that patients should be aware of is that St. John's Wort can reduce the effectiveness of other medications a patient may be taking. Patients should consult a doctor before taking the herbal supplement.

The research was funded by the German company that manufactures St. John's Wort which must be taken under consideration. Still, it appears patients may have more choices when it comes to treating depression.


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