Objective: Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a folk remedy for anxiety. A double-blind randomized trial compared the efficacy of Passiflora incarnata extract with oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.
Methods: The study was performed on 36 out-patients diagnosed with GAD using DSM IV criteria. Patients were allocated in a random fashion: 18 to the Passiflora extract 45 drops/day plus placebo tablet group, and 18 to oxazepam 30 mg/day plus placebo drops for a 4-week trial.
Results: Passiflora extract and oxazepam were effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. No significant difference was observed between the two protocols at the end of trial. Oxazepam showed a rapid onset of action. On the other hand, significantly more problems relating to impairment of job performance were encountered with subjects on oxazepam.
Conclusion: The results suggest that Passiflora extract is an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, and the low incidence of impairment of job performance with Passiflora extract compared to oxazepam is an advantage. A large-scale trial is justified.