Adjuvant use of nutritional and herbal medicines with antidepressants, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines – Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research, Jul 16, 2009

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Adjuvant use of nutritional and herbal medicines has potential to increase the efficacy of synthetic pharmaceuticals, and perhaps also decrease their side-effects by allowing lower doses to be prescribed.

We evaluated current evidence for adjuvant use of nutritional and herbal medicines with antidepressants, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines; and explored novel future areas of research. The paper also critiques current evidence for co-administration of St. John's wort with synthetic antidepressants.

We performed a systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, The Cochrane database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and the Chinese Science Citation Database. Search results were supplemented by a review of reference lists and a forward search using the Web of Science. Where possible we calculated effect sizes.

Encouraging evidence exists for the use of:
• Omega-3 fatty acids,
• SAMe,
• Folic acid,
• And l-tryptophan
… adjuvantly with antidepressants to enhance response and improve efficacy.

Various nutrients also have emerging evidence as effective adjuncts with antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.

While some evidence supports nutritional adjuvancy with various psychopharmacotherapies, adjuvant use of herbal therapies has not been sufficiently studied to warrant standard clinical application. This remains a promising area of research via robust, safety-conscious studies.

Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research, Jul 16, 2009. PMID: 19616220, by Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ, Byrne G. School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia. [E-mail: j.sarris@uq.edu.au]

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