10006919 J Clin Psychiatry / Document Archive

Psychiatrist.com Home    Keyword Search

Close [X]

Search Our Sites

Enter search terms below (keywords, titles, authors, or subjects). Then select a category to search and press the Search button. All words are assumed to be required. To search for an exact phrase, put it in quotes. To exclude a term, precede it with a minus sign (-).

Keyword search:

Choose a category:

Choosing the appropriate category will greatly improve your chances of finding the best match.

All files at our sites: J Clin Psychiatry, Primary Care Companion, CME Institute, and MedFair

Search materials from our journals:

Abstracts from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1996–present, both regular issues and supplements

PDFs of the full text of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1996–present, both regular issues and supplements (Net Society Platinum [paid subscribers])

PDFs of the full text of The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1999–present

Search CME offerings:

CME Institute, including CME from journals , supplements, and Web activities for instant CME credit (Net Society Gold [registered users]); also includes information about our CME program

CME activities from regular issues of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Net Society Gold [registered users])

CME Supplements from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Net Society Gold [registered users])


The article you requested is

Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Major Depressive Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Patient Characteristics, Placebo-Response Rates, and Treatment Outcomes Relative to Standard Antidepressants

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(6):682-688
Copyright 2010 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

To view this item, select one of the options below.

    1. Purchase this PDF for $40
      If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
      (You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
    2. Subscribe
      Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP print + online for $166 individual.
      JCP's 75th AnniversaryCelebrate!
      Celebrate JCP's 75th Anniversary with a special online-only subscription price of $75.
    1. Activate
      If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
    2. Sign in
      As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
  1. Did you forget your password?

Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send an email


Objective: To compare patient characteristics, placebo-response rates, and outcome differences in active treatment compared to placebo in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and standard antidepressants for major depressive disorder (MDD).

Data Sources: Eligible studies were first identified using searches of PubMed/MEDLINE, restricted to English, by cross-referencing the search term placebo with each of the antidepressants (those that had received letters of approval by the US, Canadian, or EU drug regulatory agencies for the treatment of MDD) and selected CAM agents. These searches were limited to articles published between January 1, 1980, and September 15, 2009 (inclusive). Reference lists from identified studies were also searched for studies eligible for inclusion.

Study Selection: We selected RCTs for MDD that included validated diagnostic assessment and baseline/outcome measures of illness severity. Assessment was limited to widely used CAM agents most frequently studied in RCTs with pill placebo: St John’s wort, omega-3 fatty acids, and S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe).

Data Synthesis: Of eligible publications, 173 reported results of 1 trial, and 5 included > 1 trial, representing a total of 185 RCTs. Patient variables, including illness severity, were similar across CAM and antidepressant RCTs, except for a higher proportion of women in CAM studies (P = .0003). Random-effects meta-analysis indicated that both antidepressant and CAM monotherapy resulted in superior response rates compared with placebo. Placebo-response rates were significantly lower for patients enrolled in CAM versus antidepressant RCTs (P = .002). Meta-regression analyses yielded no significant differences in the relative risk of prematurely discontinuing therapy due to any reason between active treatment and placebo for antidepressant and CAM RCTs, although discontinuation due to adverse events was higher in antidepressant RCTs compared to CAM RCTs (P = .007).

Conclusions: Participants in CAM trials were more likely to be female and to have a lower placebo-response rate compared to those in standard antidepressant trials for MDD. Trials of standard antidepressants and CAM therapies were composed of patients with similar depression severity.

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(6):682–688

Submitted: January 12, 2010; accepted March 16, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.10r05976blu).

Corresponding author: Marlene P. Freeman, MD, Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge St, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02114 (mfreeman@partners.org).