St. John’s wort and Kava in treating major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety : a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial

Kavanagh, David J. (2009) St. John’s wort and Kava in treating major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety : a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 24(1), pp. 41-48.

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Objective - We report the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) using a combination of St. John’s wort (SJW) and Kava for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) with comorbid anxiety.

Methods - Twenty-eight adults with MDD and co-occurring anxiety were recruited for a double-blind RCT. After a placebo run-in of 2 weeks, the trial had a crossover design testing SJW and Kava against placebo over two controlled phases, each of 4 weeks. The primary analyses used intention-to-treat and completer analyses.

Results - On both intention-to-treat ( p¼0.047) and completer analyses ( p¼0.003), SJW and Kava gave a significantly greater reduction in self-reported depression on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) over placebo in the first controlled phase. However, in the crossover phase, a replication of those effects in the delayed medication group did not occur. Nor were there significant effects on anxiety or quality of life.

Conclusion - There was some evidence of antidepressant effects using SJW and Kava in a small sample with comorbid anxiety. Possible explanations for the absence of anxiolysis may include a potential interaction with SJW, the presence of depression, or an inadequate dose of Kava.

Impact and interest:

15 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 28436
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Depression , Anxiety, Randomised controlled trial, St. John’s wort , Kava , Herbal medicine
DOI: 10.1002/hup.994
ISSN: 0885-6222
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy) (110319)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2009 22:04
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:07

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