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J Affect Disord. 2018 May;232:349-357. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.02.070. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

affron®, a standardised extract from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for the treatment of youth anxiety and depressive symptoms: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Author information

1
School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia. Electronic address: a.lopresti@murdoch.edu.au.
2
School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia.
3
Pharmactive Biotech Products S.L. Parque Científico de Madrid, C/Faraday, 7, 28049 Madrid, Spain.
4
Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación CIAL (CEI CSIC-UAM), C/ Nicolás Cabrera, 9, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Saffron has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in adults with mild-to-moderate depression. However, this is the first study examining its mood-related effects in teenagers.

METHODS:

In this 8-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, youth aged 12-16 years, with mild-to-moderate anxiety or depressive symptoms were given tablets containing placebo or a saffron extract (affron®, 14 mg b.i.d). The youth and parent versions of the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) were used as outcome measures.

RESULTS:

80 participants were enrolled and 68 completed the study. Based on youth self-reports, affron® was associated with greater improvements in overall internalising symptoms (p = 0.049), separation anxiety (p = 0.003), social phobia (p = 0.023), and depression (p = 0.016). Total internalising scores decreased by an average of 33% compared to 17% in the placebo group (p = 0.029). However, parental reports of improvements were inconsistent as mean improvements in RCADS scores were greater in the saffron group (40% vs 26%) (p = 0.026), although no other significant differences were identified. affron® was well-tolerated and there was a trend of reduced headaches in participants on the active treatment.

LIMITATIONS:

The use of a self-report instrument, limited study duration, single treatment dose, and non-clinical sample used in this study limit the generalisability of study findings.

CONCLUSION:

The administration of a standardised saffron extract (affron®) for 8 weeks improved anxiety and depressive symptoms in youth with mild-to-moderate symptoms, at least from the perspective of the adolescent. However, these beneficial effects were inconsistently corroborated by parents.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Clinical trial; Depression; Saffron extract; Teenager; Youth

PMID:
29510352
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2018.02.070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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