Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Antidepressants


Hypericum perforatum is, with Ginkgo biloba, one of the most frequently prescribed medicinal plants in the world. Its popular name, St. John’s wort (SJW), is due to the fact that its flowers, yellow, are gathered around the feast of St. John the Baptist (24th June) whereas “wort” is an old English word for plant. Of interest, SJW possesses antidepressant actions and is currently used to alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Nearly two dozens of bioactive compounds have been isolated from SJW. Hypericin, originally described as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor type A, was thought to be responsible for the antidepressant properties of SJW extracts. However, subsequent studies could not confirm this observation and hyperforin, a phloroglucinol derivative, was shown to display antidepressive properties. Indeed, the efficiency of the extracts of SJW has been reported to be dependent on the concentration of hyperforin. However, its effects on brain cells and on the mechanisms underlying its putative clinical antidepressant effect remain poorly characterized.

Concepts: Antidepressant, Monoamine oxidase, Venlafaxine, Monoamine oxidase inhibitor, St John's wort, Hypericum, Hyperforin, Antidepressants


(1) Objective: To examine the relationship between the choice of second-generation antidepressant drug treatment and long-term weight change; (2) Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to investigate the relationship between choice of antidepressant medication and weight change at two years among adult patients with a new antidepressant treatment episode between January, 2006 and October, 2009 in a large health system in Washington State. Medication use, encounters, diagnoses, height, and weight were collected from electronic databases. We modeled change in weight and BMI at two years after initiation of treatment using inverse probability weighted linear regression models that adjusted for potential confounders. Fluoxetine was the reference treatment; (3) Results: In intent-to-treat analyses, non-smokers who initiated bupropion treatment on average lost 7.1 lbs compared to fluoxetine users who were non-smokers (95% CI: -11.3, -2.8; p-value < 0.01); smokers who initiated bupropion treatment gained on average 2.2 lbs compared to fluoxetine users who were smokers (95% CI: -2.3, 6.8; p-value = 0.33). Changes in weight associated with all other antidepressant medications were not significantly different than fluoxetine, except for sertraline users, who gained an average of 5.9 lbs compared to fluoxetine users (95% CI: 0.8, 10.9; p-value = 0.02); (4) Conclusion: Antidepressant drug therapy is significantly associated with long-term weight change at two years. Bupropion may be considered as the first-line drug of choice for overweight and obese patients unless there are other existing contraindications.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Bupropion, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Venlafaxine, Antidepressants


To quantify the risk of suicidality and violence when selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are given to adult healthy volunteers with no signs of a mental disorder.

Concepts: Serotonin, Mental disorder, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Antidepressants



Depression and dementia are common mental health problems and are associated in several ways. Early-life depression is associated with increased risk of later life dementia, and depression can present as a preclinical symptom or consequence of dementia. Despite the plausible relationship between these two clinical entities, the potential association between antidepressant medication and dementia has rarely been investigated. We conducted a 9-year retrospective analysis of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), enrolling 5819 cases who had received prescriptions of antidepressants between 2003 and 2006, and 23,276 (with ratio of 1:4) age, sex, and index date-matched controls. The hazard ratio (HR) of dementia among antidepressant users with depression was 2.42 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15-5.10), for those without depression was 4.05 (95% CI: 3.19-5.15), compared to antidepressant non-users respectively. Among the 6 classes of common antidepressants used in Taiwan, the adjusted HRs were 3.66 (95% CI: 2.62-5.09) for SSRIs, 4.73 (95% CI: 2.54-8.80) for SNRI, 3.26 (95% CI: 2.30-4.63) for TCAs, 6.62 (95% CI: 3.34-13.13) for TeCA, 4.94 (95% CI: 2.17-11.24) for MAOI, and 4.48 (95% CI: 3.13-6.40) for SARI. Furthermore, the multivariate analysis result showed that the adjusted HRs of cumulative defined daily doses (cDDDs) were 3.74 (95% CI: 2.91-4.82), 3.73 (95% CI: 2.39-5.80) and 5.22 (95% CI: 3.35-8.14) for those who had cDDDs of <90, 90-180 and >180 compared to those who had taken no antidepressant medication. This is a retrospective study based on secondary data, hence, we could not claim causality between antidepressant medication and dementia. However, a potential association between antidepressant and occurrence of dementia after controlling for the status of depression was observed. Lack of patients' data about smoking status and body mass index in NHIRD, which are considered related to dementia, was also a limitation in this study. In this study, we concluded that antidepressant medication is a potential risk factor for dementia, independent from any effect of depression itself.

Concepts: Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Fluoxetine, Venlafaxine, Monoamine oxidase inhibitor, Antidepressants


The aim of this study was to review herb-drug interaction studies with St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) with a focus on the hyperforin content of the extracts used in these studies.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Benzodiazepine, St John's wort, Hypericum, Hyperforin, Antidepressants, Clusiaceae


St John’s wort extract (SJW) and its component hyperforin (HPF) were shown to potently inhibit cytokine-induced STAT-1 and NF-κB activation in pancreatic β cells and protect them against injury. This study aimed at exploring the time course of STAT-1 inhibition afforded by these natural compounds in the β-cell line INS-1E.

Concepts: Enzyme inhibitor, Inhibitor, St John's wort, Hypericum, Hyperforin, Antidepressants, John the Apostle


Our goal was to quantify the risk of hyperhidrosis associated with commonly used antidepressant agents and examine the impact of medication class, pharmacodynamics, and dose on risk of hyperhidrosis.

Concepts: Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Antidepressants


Hyperforin is a major active constituent of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort). It has amazing pharmacological activities, such as antidepressant properties, but it is labile and difficult to synthesize. Its sensitivity and lipophilicity are challenges for processing and formulation. Its chemical complexity provokes approaches of biotechnological production and modification. Dedifferentiated H. perforatum cell cultures lack appropriate storage sites and hence appreciable hyperforin levels. Shoot cultures are capable of forming hyperforin but less suitable for biomass up-scaling in bioreactors. Roots commonly lack hyperforin but a recently established adventitious root line has been demonstrated to produce hyperforin and derivatives at promising levels. The roots also contained lupulones, the typical constituents of hop (Humulus lupulus). Although shear-sensitive, these root cultures provide a potential production platform for both individual compounds and extracts with novel combinations of constituents and pharmacological activities. Besides in vitro cultivation techniques, the reconstruction of hyperforin biosynthesis in microorganisms is a promising alternative for biotechnological production. The biosynthetic pathway is under study, with omics-technologies being increasingly implemented. These biotechnological approaches may not only yield hyperforin at reasonable productivity but also allow for modifications of its chemical structure and pharmacological profile.

Concepts: Bacteria, Biotechnology, St John's wort, Hypericum, Hyperforin, Humulus lupulus, Antidepressants, Clusiaceae


Several studies reported that antidepressant drugs have immune-regulatory effects by acting on specific inflammatory mediators. However, considering the highly complex nature of the inflammatory response, we have adopted an unbiased genome-wide strategy to investigate the immune-regulatory activity of the antidepressant agomelatine in modulating the response to an acute inflammatory challenge.

Concepts: Inflammation, Neurogenesis, Rat, Antidepressant, Lithium, Norepinephrine, Antidepressants, Agomelatine