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Draft SIGN non-pharmacological depression treatments guideline, 3rd post: herbs & supplements

This is the third in a series of blog posts on last Wednesday's SIGN draft guideline seminar on "Non-pharmacological management of mild to moderate depression."  The first session of the day was on "Lifestyle and Alternative/Complementary Therapies 1".  Yesterday's blog discussed the first presenter, Ian Ross's talk on the value of exercise in depression.  The second presentation was by Cliff Sharp, a psychiatrist from NHS borders.  He reviewed St John's Wort & Dietary Supplements.  He talked about the possible value of folate in treating depression when used to supplement conventional antidepressants.  He concluded that current evidence was insufficient to determine whether folate boosts response for those on antidepressants only if their initial folate levels are low, or whether it boosts response for anyone taking antidepressants.  See an

  • Organization of teratology information specialists (OTIS)

    Teratology is the study of the effects that drugs, medications, chemicals and other exposures may have on the unborn child during pregnancy.  Particulary when a mother is taking a medication that is helping her stay well, it can be a difficult decision whether or not to stop taking the medication because of a possible risk to the fetus.  This decision is made harder because we know that if a pregnant woman becomes unwell, for example with depression, this too risks damaging the fetus, so it's not necessarily the case that stopping medication is going to be in the unborn baby's best interest.

    In this situation, having access to up to date, expert information can be crucially important.  I came across a helpful website today - OTIS (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists) - that provides exactly this.  Although the organization is based in the US and Canada, there is much that is useful on the website. 

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