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

By David J. Kavanagh


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.\ud \ud 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. \ud \ud 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.\ud \ud 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

Topics: 110319 Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy), Depression, Anxiety, Randomised controlled trial, St. John’s wort, Kava, Herbal medicine
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1002/hup.994
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