Trial of St. John’s Wort vs. Standard Antidepressant for Minor Depression

Patients with minor depression may be interested in applying to participate in this study.

The Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is recruiting for a National Institutes of Health-funded study to compare the antidepressant benefits and risks of a natural herb (St. John’s Wort) versus the “standard” pharmaceutical antidepressant Celexa® and placebo (fake dose in the form of an inactive sugar pill) for the treatment of minor depression.

Minor depression – “under-diagnosed and under-treated.” The researchers ask: “How have you been feeling lately? Have you been feeling down or depressed? Are you less excited about things you used to enjoy? Do you find yourself tired all day, no matter how much sleep you get? Are you more irritable than your usual self?… If you answered yes to at least 2 of these questions, you might be suffering from minor depression. Yet minor depression is under-diagnosed and under-treated.

Study participants will:
n Receive one of the three study “drugs” (St. John’s Wort, Celexa®, or sugar pill) for a 12-week period.
n Then, for those participants whose symptoms persists will receive one of the two “active” treatments – St. John’s Wort or Celexa® – for another 12 weeks.
n And after the study ends, all participants will receive 12 weeks of follow-up care in the Mass General depression clinic free of charge.

St John’s wort
According to the NIH’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
n “St. John’s wort Is an herb that has been used for centuries.”
n There is some scientific evidence that it is beneficial for individuals with mild to moderate depression.
n Recent studies suggest it is not beneficial for individuals with major depression.
n It may interact dangerously with certain drugs (typically increasing or reducing the drug's action), highlighting the importance of fully informing all one’s healthcare providers of any therapy or dietary supplement one is using or considering.

Patients who would like to apply for participation in the study may contact
Lindsay at 617/724-3222 or e-mail lahallett@partners.org Refer to “Pharmacotherapy for Minor Depression.”


For information on the Mass General depression program, go to http://www.massgeneral.org/allpsych/depression/about_us.html

Note: The information provided here has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure and illness, condition, or disease. It is essential that you never make a change in your personal health support plan or regime without first researching and reviewing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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