Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with Hypericum Extract

Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
with Hypericum Extract

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   Pharmacopsychiatry 1997 (Sep);   30 Suppl 2:   8993

Kasper S

Department of General Psychiatry,
University of Vienna, Austria

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a subgroup of major depression and characterized by a regular occurrence of symptoms in autumn/winter and full remission or hypomania in spring/summer. Light therapy (LT) and recently pharmacotherapy with specific antidepressants have been shown to be beneficial. Within the array of pharmacotherapy hypericum extract has also been found to be effective in a single-blind study (Martinez et al., 1994). In this 4 weeks treatment study 900 mg of hypericum was associated with a significant reduction in the total score of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. There was no significant difference when bright light therapy was combined with hypericum, compared to the situation without bright light therapy. Overall, hypericum was well tolerated and therefore the data suggest that pharmacological treatment with hypericum may be an efficient therapy in patients with SAD, which needs to be substantiated in further controlled studies.

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