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Assessment of Pharmacokinetic Effects of Herbal Medicines on Escitalopram.

PURPOSE: Herbal medicines are occasionally used in combination with conventional antidepressants to mitigate various depression-associated symptoms. However, there is limited information on herb-antidepressant interactions. In this study, we investigated the pharmacokinetic (PK) effects of four herbal medicines (Gami-soyosan, Banhasasim-tang, Ojeok-san, and Bojungikgi-tang) on escitalopram, a commonly used antidepressant.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this open-label, fixed-sequence, three-period, crossover study, 18 participants were enrolled and divided into two groups. Each group received a 10 mg oral dose of escitalopram in period 1. Participants took escitalopram once daily and their assigned herbal medicines thrice a day for 7 d in periods 2 (group 1: Gami-soyosan, group 2: Ojeok-san) and 3 (group 1: Banhasasim-tang; group 2: Bojungikgi-tang). The primary endpoints were Cmax,ss and AUCtau,ss of escitalopram. Cmax,ss and AUCtau,ss in period 1 were obtained using nonparametric superposition from single-dose data. The PK endpoints were classified according to the CYP2C19 phenotype.

RESULTS: Of 18 participants, 16 completed the study. Systemic exposure to escitalopram resulted in a minor increase in the presence of each herbal medicine. The geometric mean ratios (GMRs, combination with herbal medicines/escitalopram monotherapy) and their 90% confidence intervals (CIs) for Cmax,ss and AUCtau,ss were as follows: Gamisoyosan- 1.1454 (0.9201, 1.4258) and 1.0749 (0.8084, 1.4291), Banhasasim-tang-1.0470 (0.7779, 1.4092) and 1.0465 (0.7035, 1.5568), Ojeok-san-1.1204 (0.8744, 1.4357) and 1.1267 (0.8466, 1.4996), and Bojungikgi-tang-1.1264 (0.8594, 1.4762) and 1.1400 (0.8515, 1.5261), respectively. Furthermore, no significant differences in the GMRs of Cmax,ss and AUCtau,ss were observed across different CYP2C19 phenotypes in any of the groups.

CONCLUSION: The co-administration of escitalopram with Gami-soyosan, Banhasasim-tang, Ojeok-san, or Bojungikgi-tang did not exert significant PK effects on escitalopram. These findings provide valuable insights into the safe use of herbal medicines along with escitalopram.

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