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Review: St John's wort is more effective than placebo for treating depressive disorders

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Question Are extracts of St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) effective and safe compared with placebo and standard antidepressants in patients with depressive disorders?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (from 1983), PsycLIT (1987–97), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (from 1989), the clinical trial registry of the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety, and Neurosis Group, the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field, and the private database Phytodok (Munich); by scanning bibliographies of relevant articles; and by contacting authors and pharmaceutical companies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared St John's wort with placebo or other antidepressants in patients with depressive disorders. Studies with physiological outcome measures only were excluded.

Data extraction

2 reviewers extracted study characteristics and results and assessed the quality of each study. Missing or additional data were obtained from …

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