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A meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of St John's wort extract in depression therapy in comparison with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in adults

Authors Cui Y, Zheng Y

Received 19 February 2016

Accepted for publication 17 March 2016

Published 11 July 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1715—1723


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Yong-hua Cui,1 Yi Zheng1,2

1Department of Pediatrics, Beijing An’ding Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 2Beijing Institutes of Brain Disorders, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of St John’s wort extract and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of depression.
Methods: Databases were searched for studies comparing efficacy and/or safety of St John’s wort extract with SSRIs in depression from 1966 to April 2015. Stata software was used for statistical analysis.
Results: Twenty-seven studies met the study entry criteria. A total of 3,126 patients with depression were included. St John’s wort extract did not differ from SSRIs in clinical response, remission, and mean reduction in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score. St John’s wort extract had a significantly lower rate of adverse events compared to SSRIs (summary relative risk: 0.77; 95% confidence interval: 0.70, 0.84, P=0.00) and had fewer withdrawals due to adverse events. St John’s wort extract had superior safety in the management of patients with depression.
Conclusion: Both St John’s wort extract and SSRIs are effective in treating mild-to-moderate depression. St John’s wort extract is safer than SSRIs.

Keywords: St John’s wort, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, depression, meta-analysis

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