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Health Agencies Update
April 16, 2003

Low-Birth Weight Equals Higher Health Risks

JAMA. 2003;289(15):1915. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1915-a

The National Institutes of Health has launched a study of the popular herb St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) in individuals with minor depression. The three-armed, double-blind study will test the herb against the prescription antidepressant citalopram (Celexa) and placebo.

Patients who improve after 12 weeks will continue with the same treatment (or placebo); those who do not will be switched to a second arm.

Two recent studies found that St John's Wort was not effective in treating major depression (JAMA. 2001;285:1978-1986 and 2002;287:1807-1814).