Warning on herb’s bad side effects
ALTERNATIVE medicine St John’s wort produces the same adverse reactions as antidepressants and people need to start thinking of it as a drug, research has found.
Researchers at Adelaide University compared adverse drug reactions to St John’s wort, a herbal treatment for depression, with fluoxetine, a prescription antidepressant which includes Prozac.
It found both can cause side effects such as dangerous increases in body temperature and blood pressure, anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, amnesia and aggression.
“There is a common belief that because something is natural and can be purchased from a health food shop without a prescription, it’s safe,” says researcher Claire Hoban. “People need to start thinking of St John’s wort, and other herbal medicines, as a drug and seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner to be sure they use it safely.”