Article

Evidence based review of escitalopram in treating major depressive disorder in primary care.

Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
International Clinical Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.1). 10/2004; 19(5):305-10. DOI: 10.1097/01.yic.0000139342.22133.77
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The study aimed to summarize clinical data for escitalopram in the treatment of major depressive disorder in primary care. Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases were searched for randomized controlled trials of escitalopram (10-20 mg/day for 8 weeks) versus other antidepressants in therapeutic doses or placebo. Patients were required to have had moderate/severe depression, with Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores recorded at baseline and 8 weeks. Outcomes examined were remission rates (MADRS</=12) and response rates (>/=50% decrease from baseline in MADRS at week 8). Data were combined using a random effects meta-analytic model. Of the 15 studies identified, 11 were rejected (five not primary care, four duplicate reports, one lacked 8-week MADRS scores, one not depression) and four were accepted (n=1472 patients). The four studies had nine arms, four for escitalopram (n=654), two for citalopram (n=333), one for venlafaxine-XR (n=142) and two for placebo (n=343). Remission rates for escitalopram were superior to placebo (48.7% versus 37.6%, P=0.003) and citalopram (52.8% versus 43.5%, P=0.003) but similar to venlafaxine-XR (P=0.97). Response rates were superior to placebo (48.7% versus 43.1%, P<0.001) and citalopram (62.5% versus 49.5%, P=0.001) but not venlafaxine-XR (P=0.52). Adverse events were comparable among active drugs (P<0.05). Remission rates for escitalopram were superior to placebo (48.7% versus 37.6%, P=0.003) and citalopram (52.8% versus 43.5%, P=0.003) but similar to venlafaxine-XR (P=0.97). Response rates were superior to placebo (48.7% versus 43.1%, P<0.001) and citalopram (62.5% versus 49.5%, P=0.001) but not venlafaxine-XR (P=0.52). Adverse events were comparable among active drugs (P>0.05). Remission and response rates of escitalopram in primary care are clinically superior to placebo and citalopram, but similar to venlafaxine-XR. Further head-to-head trials are warranted to verify these findings. A pharmacoeconomic analysis is also required to determine whether these clinical advantages for the patients translate into economic advantages for the health care system.

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