by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked:
Do you have an opinion on which antidepressants are the safest for our ears—e.g. Pamelor, Desipramine, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, etc. Is there one that is significantly less ototoxic than the others?
For my money, I wouldn’t use any of the above. Why? Because there is a much safer alternative—St. John’s Wort. You see, this herbal is not ototoxic at all. Furthermore, according to numerous studies, it works as well as the above drugs for mild to moderate depression. In addition, it doesn’t have all the other bad side effects the above drugs have either.
If you decide to take St. John’s Wort, do two things. First, run it by your doctor or pharmacist. You want to make sure it won’t interfere with any of the other drugs you are currently taking. Second, be sure it says on the bottle that it is standardized to 0.3% to 0.5% hypericin. (Hypericin is the active ingredient.) When you use a standardized formulation, you know exactly how much of the active ingredient you are getting. Otherwise, the active ingredient may vary all over the place, and you don’t want that.