Placebo Beats Zoloft and St. John’s Wort

Apr 10, 2002

Critics say the study design that found neither for Pfizer Inc.’s top-selling antidepressant Zoloft nor St. John’s Wort to be better than a placebo for major depression was flawed, reports Bloomberg News.

In a 340-patient study, only 23.9 percent of people taking the popular herbal supplement and 24.9 percent taking Zoloft showed substantial improvement, compared with almost a third of placebo patients, according to results to appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Moderator Comment: Will the Duke University Medical
Center study on depression impact OTC and pharmaceutical sales of anti-depressant
products at retail?

Depression is a major health issue in the United States
which, by all accounts, has worsened since September 11.

We have never heard of any proponent of St. John’s wort
suggest that it be used for anything other than mild depression (clinically
speaking). More troubling to us is that Zoloft did not fare any better. Perhaps,
if higher dosages were used the results may have been different.

Critics of the study will certainly say that it was flawed
in some way. They may very well be right.

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