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Hypericum perforatum: pharmacokinetic, mechanism of action, tolerability, and clinical drug-drug interactions. Russo Emilio,Scicchitano Francesca,Whalley Benjamin J,Mazzitello Carmela,Ciriaco Miriam,Esposito Stefania,Patanè Marinella,Upton Roy,Pugliese Michela,Chimirri Serafina,Mammì Maria,Palleria Caterina,De Sarro Giovambattista Phytotherapy research : PTR Hypericum perforatum (HP) belongs to the Hypericaceae family and is one of the oldest used and most extensively investigated medicinal herbs. The medicinal form comprises the leaves and flowering tops of which the primary ingredients of interest are naphthodianthrones, xanthones, flavonoids, phloroglucinols (e.g. hyperforin), and hypericin. Although several constituents elicit pharmacological effects that are consistent with HP's antidepressant activity, no single mechanism of action underlying these effects has thus far been found. Various clinical trials have shown that HP has a comparable antidepressant efficacy as some currently used antidepressant drugs in the treatment of mild/moderate depression. Interestingly, low-hyperforin-content preparations are effective in the treatment of depression. Moreover, HP is also used to treat certain forms of anxiety. However, HP can induce various cytochrome P450s isozymes and/or P-glycoprotein, of which many drugs are substrates and which are the main origin of HP-drug interactions. Here, we analyse the existing evidence describing the clinical consequence of HP-drug interactions. Although some of the reported interactions are based on findings from in vitro studies, the clinical importance of which remain to be demonstrated, others are based on case reports where causality can, in some cases, be determined to reveal clinically significant interactions that suggest caution, consideration, and disclosure of potential interactions prior to informed use of HP. 10.1002/ptr.5050
Neuropharmacology of St. John's Wort (Hypericum). Bennett D A,Phun L,Polk J F,Voglino S A,Zlotnik V,Raffa R B The Annals of pharmacotherapy OBJECTIVE:To review preclinical information related to possible antidepressant mechanism(s) of action of St. John's wort in order to address the issue of whether its purported clinical effectiveness has a rational pharmacologic basis. DATA SOURCES:Primary and review articles were identified by a MEDLINE search (1966-January 1998) and through secondary sources. Many of the original German articles had English abstracts, but where necessary, German articles were translated into English. The results of a new screen of hypericin activity at receptor and uptake sites are summarized. STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION:All of the articles identified from the data sources were evaluated and all information deemed relevant was included in this review. DATA SYNTHESIS:The neuropharmacology of St. John's wort has been examined in only a few studies. A mechanism similar to that of the synthetic antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, might play a role, but other mechanisms are possible. CONCLUSIONS:Hypericum extracts have only weak activity in assays related to mechanisms of the synthetic antidepressants, that is, inhibition of MAO, catechol O-methyltransferase, or serotonin reuptake. It has been postulated that the clinical efficacy of St. John's wort could be attributable to the combined contribution of several mechanisms, each one too weak by itself to account for the overall effect. The recent demonstration of a significant affinity of hypericin for sigma receptors presents new possibilities for consideration. 10.1345/aph.18026
Hypericin and pseudohypericin: pharmacokinetics and effects on photosensitivity in humans. Brockmöller J,Reum T,Bauer S,Kerb R,Hübner W D,Roots I Pharmacopsychiatry Extracts of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) are used in treatment of depression. They contain various substances with the naphthodianthrones hypericin and pseudohypericin as characteristic ingredients. These compounds were shown to cause phototoxicity in cell culture and in animals. A placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial with monitoring of hypericin and pseudohypericin plasma concentration was performed to evaluate the increase in dermal photosensitivity in humans after application of high dose hypericum extracts. The study was divided into a single dose and a multiple dose part. In the single dose period, each of 13 volunteers received in a double blind fourfold complete crossover design, either placebo, or 900, 1800 or 3600 mg of a standardized hypericum extract (LI 160) containing zero, 2.81, 5.62 and 11.25 mg of total hypericin (total hypericin is the sum of hypericin and pseudohypericin). Maximum total hypericin plasma concentrations were observed about 4 h after dosage and were 0, 0.028, 0.061 and 0.159 mg/L, respectively. Before and 4 h after drug intake, the subjects were exposed at small areas of their back to increasing doses of solar simulated irradiation (SSI, with combined ultraviolet A, UV-A, and UV-B light) and another part was exposed to selective UV-A light irradiation. Minimal erythema dose was determined 5, 20 and 68 h after irradiation. Comparison of SSI sensitivity without and with hypericum extract did not show and difference and there was no dose-related trend in light sensitivity. Sensitivity to selective UV-A light was increased only after the highest dose from a minimal tanning dose of 10.8 J/ cm2 (mean) after placebo to 8.7 J/cm2 after 3600 mg extract with marginal statistical significance (p = 0.03 by one sided paired t-test). There was no correlation between total hypericin plasma concentrations and photosensitivity. In the multiple dose part, 50 volunteers received 600 mg hypericum extract t.i.d. with a daily dose of 5.6 mg of total hypericin. Comparison of UV light sensitivity before dosing with day 15 of treatment showed a slightly increased SSI sensitivity expressed by decrease of the MED from 0.17 to 0.16 J/cm2 (p = 0.005 by Wilcoxon test), and similarly, sensitivity to UV-A light increased (the mean tanning dose decreased from 9.9 to 7.8 J/cm2, p < 0.0001). This increase in cutaneous light sensitivity could be compensated by reducing irradiation time by 21%. Doses used in this study were higher than typical doses in current commercial preparations. In spite of these high doses in the double blind single dose part, frequency of side effects was equal to placebo medication and UV light sensitivity was not or only marginally increased. The study does not, however, exclude phototoxic reactions with doses above 11.25 mg of total hypericin and plasma levels above 100 micrograms/L. Furthermore, phototoxicity may be different after application of pure hypericin, since some constituents in the plant extract may exhibit protective effects. 10.1055/s-2007-979527
Hypericin as a promising natural bioactive naphthodianthrone: A review of its pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, and safety. Phytotherapy research : PTR Hypericin can be derived from St. John's wort, which is widely spread around the world. As a natural product, it has been put into clinical practice such as wound healing and depression for a long time. In this article, we review the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and safety of hypericin, aiming to introduce the research advances and provide a full evaluation of it. Turns out hypericin, as a natural photosensitizer, exhibits an excellent capacity for anticancer, neuroprotection, and elimination of microorganisms, especially when activated by light, potent anticancer and antimicrobial effects are obtained after photodynamic therapy. The mechanisms of its therapeutic effects involve the induction of cell death, inhibition of cell cycle progression, inhibition of the reuptake of amines, and inhibition of virus replication. The pharmacokinetics properties indicate that hypericin has poor water solubility and bioavailability. The distribution and excretion are fast, and it is metabolized in bile. The toxicity of hypericin is rarely reported and the conventional use of it rarely causes adverse effects except for photosensitization. Therefore, we may conclude that hypericin can be used safely and effectively against a variety of diseases. We hope to provide researchers with detailed guidance and enlighten the development of it. 10.1002/ptr.8011