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Hypericum extract was better than placebo and equivalent to imipramine for moderate depression

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 QUESTION: In patients with moderate depression, how do the effectiveness and safety of Hypericum extract (St John's wort) compare with those of imipramine and placebo?


8 week randomised {allocation concealed*}, blinded (clinicians and patients),* placebo controlled trial.


18 general practitioners' practices in Germany.


263 patients who were 18–65 years of age (mean age 47 y, 75% women) and had a diagnosis of moderate depression; score of ≥18 on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS); clinical global impression rating of moderate, marked, or severe; and depression lasting ≥4 weeks and ≤ 2 years. Exclusion criteria included bipolar disorders, alcohol or drug dependence, or suicidal risk. 230 patients (87%) completed the …

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  • Source of funding: Steiner Arzneimittel, Berlin, Germany.

  • For correspondence: Dr K O Hiller, Steiner Arzneimittel, D-12207 Berlin, Germany. Fax +49 30 712 5012.

  • Abstract also appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health.

  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.

  • p Values calculated from data in article.