Treatment with Citalopram Prevents Recurrent Depressive Episodes

Treatment with Citalopram Prevents Recurrent Depressive Episodes

Barry D. Lebowitz

(American Psychiatric Association) Long-term treatment (daily dosage of 20 to 40 mg) with citalopram HBr (Celexa), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, helped prevent the recurrence of major depression in patients 65 years and older for up to two years. This is according to a study of 230 depressed individuals who were initially treated for depression with citalopram for eight weeks. A total of 121 patients who responded to citalopram during the acute treatment phase and remained well during the continuation phase (16 weeks) were then randomized to receive citalopram or a placebo for a minimum of 48 weeks during the placebo-controlled phase of the study to evaluate the drug’s effect on prevention of recurrence. About 72 percent of the participants in the placebo-controlled phase were diagnosed with physical health problems in addition to depression, and all participants lived in the community. Mean age was 74 years. Long-term maintenance treatment (in dosages of 20 to 40 mg per day) was significantly more effective than placebo in preventing recurrence of depressive episodes–BARRY D. LEBOWITZ, M.D., National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

COPYRIGHT 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians

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