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J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Sep;44(12):760-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.01.010. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

St. John's wort extract LI160 for the treatment of depression with atypical features - a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charit√© Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin, Germany.


Preliminary data suggest that hypericum extract LI160 is effective in atypical depression. Reported is the outcome of an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of 600 mg LI160 vs. placebo in patients with vegetative features of atypical depression, i.e. hyperphagia or hypersomnia. One-hundred (100) patients with mild and 100 patients with moderate severity of a major depression according to ICD-10 were randomized. Patients needed to meet a score of 2 in at least one of the items 22-26 of the Hamilton-Depression-Rating-Scale (HAM-D) 28-item version and episode duration of at least 3 months. The primary outcome variable was the relative change of the HAM-D(17) from Baseline. Secondary outcome variables were the depression sub-score of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Clinical Global Impression (CGI), a patient's satisfaction scale, the Hamilton-Anxiety-Scale (HAM-A) and the sum score of atypical vegetative symptoms of the HAM-D(28). The percentage reduction of the HAM-D(17) for LI160 compared to placebo approached statistical significance (p=0.051) in the Full Analysis Set (FAS)-population. Using the conventional criterion of the absolute reduction of the HAM-D(17) significance was achieved (p<0.05). No significant benefit could be observed for the sum score of the atypical vegetative items of the HAM-D(28;) however, the sum score of the hypersomnia items (items 22-24) showed a significant superiority for LI160. The HAM-A, PHQ-9, and CGI-I scales demonstrated superiority of LI160 (p<0.01). Confining the analysis to moderately depressed patients, a highly significant benefit for the primary outcome variable was revealed. The study supports the beneficial effect of LI160 in depression with atypical features and the validity of the definition of atypical depression on the basis of reversed vegetative signs. Further, it identifies the PHQ-9 as a useful outcome variable in this population.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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