Potential of St John's Wort for the treatment of depression: The economic perspective
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2011, 45 (2), pp. 123 - 130
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The burden of rising health care expenditures has created a demand for information regarding the clinical and economic outcomes associated with complementary and alternative medicines. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have found Hypericum perforatum preparations to be superior to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants in the acute treatment of mild to moderate depression. A clear advantage over antidepressants has been demonstrated in terms of the reduced frequency of adverse effects and lower treatment withdrawal rates, low rates of side effects and good compliance, key variables affecting the cost-effectiveness of a given form of therapy. The most important risk associated with use is potential interactions with other drugs, but this may be mitigated by using extracts with low hyperforin content. As the indirect costs of depression are greater than five times direct treatment costs, given the rising cost of pharmaceutical antidepressants, the comparatively low cost of Hypericum perforatum extract makes it worthy of consideration in the economic evaluation of mild to moderate depression treatments. © 2011 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
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