Pharmacopsychiatry 1997 (Sep); 30 Suppl 27: 77–80
Department of Psychological Medicine,
Royal Masonic Hospital,
Up to now, the antidepressant efficacy of the extract of St. John's wort, LI 160, has been compared to imipramine and maprotiline, demonstrating similar antidepressant efficacy in mildly to moderately depressed patients, treated either with LI 160 or the respective synthetic comparator. In the study reported here, LI 160 (total daily dose: 900 mg) was compared with the sedating tricyclic amitriptyline (total daily dose: 75 mg) in a controlled, randomized, multicentre trial. At the end of the 6-week study, the major target variable, the Hamilton Depression Scale response rate, exhibited no statistically significant difference between the groups, although a tendency for a better response rate was seen in the amitriptyline group. The secondary efficacy parameters, decreases in the total Hamilton Depression and Montgomery-Asberg scores, showed a significant advantage for amitriptyline, but only at week 6. With regard to tolerability, LI 160 was clearly superior to amitriptyline, particularly in relation to anticholinergic and Central Nervous System adverse events. Thus, 37% of the LI 160 treated patients reported adverse events, compared to 64% in the amitriptyline group. This considerable superiority in tolerability for LI 160 in relation to amitriptyline, could confer an advantage in improving compliance for antidepressant pharmacotherapy.
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