St. John's Wort Does Not Help Treat Hyperactivity Disorder

June 10, 2008

The herb Hypericum perforatum, more commonly known as St. John's wort, has no effect on the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to the results of a study published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- The herb Hypericum perforatum, more commonly known as St. John's wort, has no effect on the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the results of a study published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wendy Weber, Ph.D., of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., and colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 54 children aged 6 to 17 years who were randomized to receive either 300 mg of H. perforatum standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin, or placebo, three times a day for eight weeks.

When subjects were analyzed according to ADHD Rating Scale-IV scores, there was no significant difference between the two groups after eight weeks of treatment, the researchers report. Scores for inattentiveness improved more in the placebo group: 3.2 points in the placebo group versus 2.6 points for the treatment group. Hyperactivity scores were also better in the placebo group, improving 2.0 points versus 1.8 points for the treatment group. Adverse effects were similar in both groups, the report indicates.

"The results of this study do not support further research on the use of H. perforatum as formulated in this study for the treatment of ADHD in children. Nonetheless, if an H. perforatum product with stable and high hyperforin content became available for investigation, it would be worthwhile to conduct a study to determine whether a clinically meaningful benefit could be achieved," the authors write.

One co-author disclosed financial ties to several pharmaceutical companies.

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