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A member asked:

My teen was persribed zoloft (sertraline) (50mg) for ocd by gp. is it safe to stay on valerian (200) hops (100) and passionflower (100) as persribed by homeopath?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Imad Khreim
Psychiatry 39 years experience
V. Risky: These three homeopathic meds you mention are all hypnotic and sedating, they also work on serotonin and may interact with zoloft (sertraline) leading to the well known serotonin syndrome which can be very serious. It is always "not a good idea" to have two professionals prescribe for the same problem ( with rare exceptions) . So wold suggest that you discuss all this with your prescribing physician.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Please understand -- none of those herbal medicines are "homeopathic." They are made in material quantities, and I agree that combining them with Zoloft is not a good idea. Truly homeopathic remedies do not pose the same kinds of issues or dangers as mixing multiple CNS-active medicines does.
Jan 13, 2013
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Not homeopathic : Neither valerian, hops, or passionflower are homeopathic -- they're herbal medicines given in material quantity, and sedating to boot. Interactions can happen that wouldn't happen with truly homeopathic remedies. Valerian can also interfere with certain liver enzymes that process zoloft; the others are not known to do this. None of these herbals is known to specifically help ocd. Zoloft (sertraline) is.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
The only benefit of a troubled young person seeing a homeopath is that these people are "caring", "unhurried" sweet-talkers. OCD is serious, cognitive-behavioral therapy and having the whole family learn new skills and tricks are usually extremely helpful. I wish you and Junior the best and am pleased that you were wise and brave enough to ask.
Feb 21, 2013
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
I've also known scientifically-minded homeopaths as has Dr. Pappas -- and I join her in expressing my grave concern that anyone practicing any school of medicine would offer these herbs in the face of grave emotional illness. Often the force of the homeopath's personality is itself therapeutic as Dr. Pappas has noted. And while I am not a psychiatrist, my hope is that someone capable will be able to guide Junior's recovery.
Feb 21, 2013
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Provided original answer
Dr. Friedlander, thank you for your comments. My answer was meant to convey that the botanical medicines mentioned are NOT homeopathy, since there seemed some confusion about this. In this case the botanicals create certain risks where actual homeopathy would not. Also the herbals proposed are not indicated for OCD. Having been a psychiatrist for over 30 years, and a classical homeopath also since 1999, I have seen Classical Homeopathy provide results that surpass those offered by pharmaceuticals alone. Although I certainly do care about and listen to my patients, in my experience these results are not accounted for by the "unhurried sweet-talking" hypothesis you state as fact. I've had to study cases much more deeply with homeopathy than I ever did using my psychiatric training alone. The activity of correctly prescribed homeopathic remedies is profound, and often helps when nothing else seems to work. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is certainly an important part of treatment for OCD, and homeopathy with an experienced, prudent homeopath adds much benefit without the side effects pharmaceuticals can produce. Gradually tapering off the latter is often possible with effective homeopathic treatment.
Feb 21, 2013

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Last updated Jan 28, 2020

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