Treatment with Citalopram Prevents Recurrent Depressive Episodes

Author: Barry D. Lebowitz
Date: August 15, 2000

(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.

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