Thursday, July 30, 2015

Herbal remedy with the opposite effect (for some)

Taking St. John's wort for depression carries risks: study

I didn't know this was possible (or at least, to this extent) with St John's wort:

Using reports filed with Australia's drug safety agency, the researchers found that to St. John's wort were similar to those reported for the antidepressant fluoxetine—better known by the brand name Prozac.

Those included anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, nausea and spikes in blood pressure, the researchers reported in the July issue of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology....

The researchers based their findings on doctors' reports to Australia's national agency on drug safety. Between 2000 and 2013, there were 84 reports of adverse reactions to St. John's wort, and 447 reports on Prozac.

But since those are voluntary reports, they do not reflect the actual rate of side effects from either therapy, according to the researchers.  And, Hoban said, bad reactions to St. John's wort are particularly likely to go unreported, since the herb is often not even considered a drug.

According to McCutcheon, it's important for people with depression symptoms to see a health professional before self-medicating with St. John's wort. "That will help ensure you have the right diagnosis," she said.

If your symptoms are actually part of a different disorder, St. John's wort may be ineffective—or possibly even risky. For example, McCutcheon said that in people with bipolar disorder, the herb might fuel a manic episode.

But possibly the biggest concern, she said, is the potential for St. John's wort to interact with commonly used medications.

The herb can dampen the effectiveness of birth control pills, blood thinners and heart disease drugs, along with some HIV and cancer drugs, according to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative

Falling pregnant unintentionally due to taking it can't be good for depression!


TimT said...

I have heard that about this herb, but then, it's so common that you can get it in the form of tea at organic stores. Probably also at the supermarket. So we seem to be pretty relaxed about it really.

Steve said...

It's a herb ready made for poetry, don't you think, Tim?