Value of herbal treatment

THE low cost and relative efficacy of St John’s wort as a treatment for depression means the complementary medicine should be included in any economic evaluation of the cost of treating mild to moderate depression, research suggests.

Public health academics from the School of Public Health at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane argue rising healthcare costs are creating a demand for clinical and economic outcomes associated with complementary medicines.

Despite the known risk of potential interactions with other drugs, St John’s wort has shown a low number of adverse effects, treatment withdrawal rates, fewer adverse events and better compliance rates compared with antidepressants, the authors argue.

 “Meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials have found Hypericum perforatum [St John’s wort] preparations to be superior to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants in the acute