Articles > Doctor Warns Against St. John’s Wort for Anxiety

Doctor Warns Against St. John’s Wort for Anxiety

In a broad-based review of studies focused on drugs that treat anxiety, a
Saint Louis University doctor found no evidence supporting the use of
so-called "natural" treatments in combating the effects of anxiety.

St. John’s wort, kava extract and valerian, herbal remedies touted on
the Internet, have not been proven to be effective in treating anxiety
wrote Kimberly Zoberi, M.D., associate professor of family and community
medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Additionally,
she raised concerns about the safety of valerian, particularly lacking
any long-term studies of the herb.

"Patients should be extremely cautious about garnering medical advice
from the Internet," says Zoberi. "There is no evidence that those
medications are effective. If a patient wishes to avoid drug therapy,
her doctor can suggest alternatives such as cognitive behavioral
therapy."

In addition to the findings regarding "natural" treatments, Zoberi
compared the differing prescription drug regimens available on the
market for patients suffering from anxiety. According to Zoberi, most
physicians recommend selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as a
first-line treatment because they were safe, effective and less
expensive. However, some patients suffer sexual or gastrointestinal side
effects.

Zoberi found that medications from the anticonvulsant class of drugs
are among the quickest and most effective ways to provide relief to
patients in distress without the side effects of other first-line
treatments. The downside is that these prescriptions are fairly
expensive compared to other treatments.

Ultimately, Zoberi strongly recommends consulting with a health care
professional before beginning any drug regimen for anxiety.

The review article was published in last month’s issue of the Journal
of Family Practice
.

Source : Saint
Louis University

 


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