The new breed of antidepressants, such as Prozac, is no better at treating depression than older drugs, researchers have found.
The one advantage of the new SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) is that they are better tolerated than the first and second generation tricyclics.
The use of the herb St John's wort was also vindicated by this report, carried out by the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, which studied over 300 trials into antidepressant treatments. They found that the herb, widely used in Germany, was more effective than placebo for the short term treatment of mild to moderately severe depressive disorders.
The researchers also wanted to evaluate the antidepressant qualities of valeriana and kava kava, but could not find any trials (Lancet, 1999; 353: 1073).