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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep;14(7):841-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0010.

The beneficial effects of the herbal medicine Free and Easy Wanderer Plus (FEWP) and fluoxetine on post-stroke depression.

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Department of Rehabilitation, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China.



Depression occurs frequently in post-stroke patients and appears to be associated with impairment of their rehabilitation and functional recovery. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of the herbal drug, Free and Easy Wanderer Plus (FEWP), in patients affected by post-stroke depression (PSD).


One hundred fifty (150) moderately to severely depressed patients as determined by a score >20 on the Hamilton Depression Scale (HDS) after a single ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke were randomly divided into the FEWP group (n = 60), the fluoxetine group (n = 60), and the placebo group (n = 30). The FEWP, fluoxetine, and placebo were administered to the patients over a period of 8 weeks. Depression was evaluated by HDS and the Barthel Index (BI) before, during, and after the treatment.


Significantly higher clinical response rates were observed in both the FEWP and fluoxetine groups compared to the placebo group (60% and 65.5% versus 21.4%, chi(2) = 15.9, p < 0.01) and there was no difference in the response rates between the FEWP group and the fluoxetine group at the end of this study (60% versus 65.5%, chi(2) = 0.38, p > 0.05). Compared to fluoxetine, FEWP produced significantly greater improvement in depression at week 2 (15% versus 3.3%, chi(2) = 4.9, p < 0.05). Furthermore, FEWP produced significantly greater improvement in the activities of daily living (ADL) than fluoxetine at the end of this trial (BI: 43.8 +/- 5.6 versus 40.7 +/- 3.7, p < 0.01).


FEWP showed good efficacy, safety, and tolerability in PSD patients. We conclude that FEWP is well tolerated and may be a useful therapeutic option in patients with PSD.

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