Seasonal depression: precautions to take before a course of St. John’s wort

The seasonal depressions will arrive with the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. A medicinal plant particularly stands out in the management of mild depression, St. John’s wort.

Indeed, St. John’s wort is a medicinal plant with proven efficacy against mild to moderate depression, often with fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants (chemical or synthetic). This is why it enjoys a very good reputation in the treatment of these moods. But beware, St. John’s wort can have strong interactions with often prescribed medications such as birth control pills, blood thinners or antidepressants.

St. John’s wort, which also bears the name of St. John’s weed, thanks to its flowering close to the St. John’s Day on June 24, is in many countries of the world the most widely used alternative treatment to treat depression. . It is estimated that therapy with St. John’s wort should last at least 4-6 weeks to be effective, the first antidepressant effects usually appear only 10 days after the start of treatment.

The effectiveness of St. John’s wort is proven by various scientific publications to treat mild to moderate depression. However, this plant does not seem to be effective against severe depression. St. John’s wort preparations have the advantage of having fewer side effects in general than conventional (synthetic) antidepressants, but the risk of interactions is very high. For example, St. John’s wort can reduce the concentration of many drugs in the body, especially the blood, such as oral contraceptives, blood thinners (anticoagulants), chemotherapy or even antihypertensives, which can lead to serious health problems.

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Interactions with sometimes serious effects

Observed examples of drug interactions with St. John’s Wort are:

– serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal disease characterized by an accumulation of serotonin in the body,

– heart disease caused by a decrease in the effectiveness of drugs on the cardiovascular system

– an unwanted pregnancy following the lack of effect of the contraceptive pill.

Other known interactions of St. John’s wort occur with the concomitant use of certain antidepressants (in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs), theophylline, cyclosporine, certain immunosuppressants, digitalis derivatives or even antivirals ( g. against HIV). The list is long, your doctor and pharmacist can give you more information if you are taking St. John’s wort.

If you want to use St. John’s wort as a cure for seasonal depression, remember these different points:

– St. John’s wort has interactions, sometimes serious, with certain medications. do not mix medicines and St. John’s Wort.

– If you want to start a cure, talk to your doctor or pharmacists who know the risk of interaction between St. John’s wort and other drugs.

– It is essential to avoid using chemical antidepressants such as SSRIs and St. John’s wort at the same time.




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