Escitalopram in the treatment of major depressive disorder: A meta-analysis

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Current Medical Research and Opinion (Impact Factor: 2.65). 01/2009; 25(1):161-75. DOI: 10.1185/03007990802622726
Source: PubMed


To assess the relative antidepressant efficacy of escitalopram and comparator antidepressants.
A meta-analysis was performed using studies in major depressive disorder (MDD) comparing escitalopram with active controls, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] (citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline) and serotonin/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors [SNRIs] (venlafaxine, duloxetine). Adult patients had to meet DSM-IV criteria for MDD.
The primary outcome measure was the treatment difference in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score at week 8. Secondary outcome measures were response and remission (MADRS total score < or = 12) rates.
Individual patient data (N = 4549) from 16 randomized controlled trials were included in the analyses (escitalopram n = 2272, SSRIs n = 1750, SNRIs n = 527). Escitalopram was significantly more effective than comparators in overall treatment effect, with an estimated mean treatment difference of 1.1 points on the MADRS (p < 0.0001), and in responder (63.7 vs. 58.3%, p < 0.0001) and remitter (53.1 vs. 49.4%, p < 0.0059) analyses. Escitalopram was significantly superior to SSRIs, with an estimated difference in response of 62.1 vs. 58.4% and remission of 51.6 vs. 49.0%. In comparison to SNRIs, the estimated difference in response was 68.3 vs. 59.0% (p = 0.0007) and for remission the difference was 57.8 vs. 50.5% (p = 0.0088). These results were similar for severely depressed patients (baseline MADRS > or = 30). Sensitivity analyses were performed with data from articles reporting Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) scores. The 8-week withdrawal rate due to adverse events was 5.4% for escitalopram and 7.9% for the comparators (p < 0.01). This difference was accounted for by statistically significant higher attrition rates in the SNRI comparisons. This work may be limited by the clinical methodology underlying meta-analytic studies, in particular, the exclusion of trials that fail to meet predetermined criteria for inclusion.
In this meta-analysis, superior efficacy of escitalopram compared to SSRIs and SNRIs was confirmed, although the superiority over SSRIs was largely explained by differences between escitalopram and citalopram.

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    • "Based on an analysis of 10 studies involving a total of 2687 MDD patients up to 2004, escitalopram was found to have significantly higher overall treatment effect (estimated difference in treatment effect of 1.07 points), response rate (odds ratio 1.29), and remission rate (odds ratio 1.21) compared with all comparators including paroxetine and sertraline (Kennedy et al., 2006). In a follow-up meta-analysis comparing escitalopram with active controls including SSRIs (citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline) and SNRIs (venlafaxine, duloxetine) involving 4549 patients in 16 randomized controlled trials, escitalopram was again found to be significantly more effective than comparators in treatment effect (measured as change from baseline in MADRS total score), as well as in the rates of response and remission (Kennedy et al., 2009). The results suggest the overall superior efficacy of escitalopram compared with paroxetine and sertraline as well as other SSRIs and SNRIs, though the superiority to other SSRIs was to the largest degree between escitalopram and citalopram (Kennedy et al., 2009), a difference that has been well established (Montgomery et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: It is known that newer antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), provide advantages in tolerability over antidepressants such as the tricyclics. However, even within the SSRI class, differences in efficacy or tolerability exist between the individual drugs. Among the three most widely prescribed SSRIs are paroxetine, sertraline, and escitalopram. Escitalopram is commonly referred to as an SSRI, but also has well-documented allosteric properties, and thus can be further classed as an allosteric serotonin reuptake inhibitor. All three antidepressants are efficacious compared with placebo, but there is evidence that escitalopram is more effective than a range of other antidepressants. There are no direct data to regard either paroxetine or sertraline as a superior antidepressant. Escitalopram is superior compared with paroxetine, which has a less favorable tolerability profile. Paroxetine is associated with cholinergic muscarinic antagonism and potent inhibition of CYP2D6, and sertraline has moderate drug interaction issues in comparison with escitalopram. Overall, as an allosteric serotonin reuptake inhibitor that is somewhat different from classical SSRIs, escitalopram is the first choice judged by combined efficacy and tolerability, and nonclinical data have offered possible mechanisms through which escitalopram could be more efficacious, based on its interaction with orthosteric and allosteric binding sites at the serotonin transporter.
    International clinical psychopharmacology 01/2014; 29(4). DOI:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000023 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    • "Citalopram and its active S-enantiomer named escitalopram are selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Escitalopram compared to citalopram has been reported as having greater efficacy, fewer side effects, and greater cost-effectiveness due to higher relapse prevention and reduced hospital stay [31,32,33,34,35,36]. Mirtazapine is a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant (NaSSA), structurally also classifiable as a tetracyclic antidepressant (TeCA). "
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    ABSTRACT: The interplay between immune and nervous systems plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of depression. In depressive episodes, patients show increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. There is limited information on the effect of antidepressant drugs on cytokines, most studies report on a limited sample of cytokines and none have reported effects on IL-22. We systematically investigated the effect of three antidepressant drugs, citalopram, escitalopram and mirtazapine, on secretion of cytokines IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-17, IL-22 and TNF-α in a whole blood assay in vitro, using murine anti-human CD3 monoclonal antibody OKT3, and 5C3 monoclonal antibody against CD40, to stimulate T and B cells respectively. Citalopram increased production of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-22. Mirtazapine increased IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-22. Escitalopram decreased IL-17 levels. The influence of antidepressants on IL-2 and IL-4 levels was not significant for all three drugs. Compared to escitalopram, citalopram led to higher levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-17 and IL-22; and mirtazapine to higher levels of IL-1β, IL-17, IL-22 and TNF-α. Mirtazapine and citalopram increased IL-22 production. The differing profile of cytokine production may relate to differences in therapeutic effects, risk of relapse and side effects.
    Toxins 11/2013; 5(11):2227-2240. DOI:10.3390/toxins5112227 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    • "We hypothesized that the genetic background of WKY rats is associated with dysfunction of the DRN-PFC 5-HT system, resulting in expression of depression-like behavior. To characterize the DRN- PFC 5-HT system and its responses to acute and chronic SSRIs in WKY rats, the extracellular 5-HT levels in the DRN and PFC of WKY rats were measured using dual-probe microdialysis under naïve conditions and after chronic treatment with the most selective SSRI, escitalopram (ESCIT) (Kennedy et al., 2009). Our results show low activity of the DRN-PFC 5-HT system and upregulation of the 5- HT system with chronic ESCIT in WKY rats, opposite to the downregulation response in Wistar rats. "
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    ABSTRACT: Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats are sensitive to chronic stressors and exhibit depression-like behavior. Dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonin (5-HT) neurons projecting to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) comprise the important neurocircuitry underlying the pathophysiology of depression. To evaluate the DRN-PFC 5-HT system in WKY rats, we examined the effects of escitalopram (ESCIT) on the extracellular 5-HT level in comparison with Wistar rats using dual-probe microdialysis. The basal levels of 5-HT in the DRN, but not in the PFC, in WKY rats was reduced as low as 30% of Wistar rats. Responses of 5-HT in the DRN and PFC to ESCIT administered systemically and locally were attenuated in WKY rats. Feedback inhibition of DRN 5-HT release induced by ESCIT into the PFC was also attenuated in WKY rats. Chronic ESCIT induced upregulation of the DRN-PFC 5-HT system in WKY rats, with increases in basal 5-HT in the DRN, responsiveness to ESCIT in the DRN and PFC, and feedback inhibition, whereas downregulation of these effects was induced in Wistar rats. Thus, the WKY rat is an animal model of depression with low activity of the DRN-PFC 5HT system. The finding that chronic ESCIT upregulates the 5-HT system in hyposerotonergic WKY rats may contribute to improved understanding of mechanisms of action of antidepressants, especially in depression with 5-HT deficiency.
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