Do equivalent doses of escitalopram and citalopram have similar efficacy? A pooled analysis of two positive placebo-controlled studies in major depressive disorder.

Kuopion Psykiatripalvelu OY Psychiatric Research, Clinic of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
International Clinical Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.71). 05/2004; 19(3):149-55. DOI: 10.1097/00004850-200405000-00005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Escitalopram is the S-enantiomer of citalopram. In this study, we compared the efficacy of equivalent dosages of escitalopram and citalopram in the treatment of moderate to severe major depressive disorder (MDD), based on data from two, pooled, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of escitalopram in which citalopram was the active reference. The primary efficacy parameter was the mean change from baseline in the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score. Significant differences in favour of escitalopram were observed for the MADRS [P<0.05, observed cases (OC)/last observation carried forward (LOCF)] and Clinical Global Improvement-Severity of Illness scores (CGI-S; P<0.05, OC/LOCF). Escitalopram separated from placebo at week 1 on the primary efficacy parameter, whereas citalopram first separated from placebo at week 6. An analysis of time to response showed that escitalopram-treated patients responded significantly faster to treatment than citalopram-treated patients (P<0.01). More patients responded to and achieved remission with escitalopram than to citalopram (P<0.05, OC). The HAMD scale was only used in the fixed-dose study, where escitalopram-treated patients had a significant reduction in HAMD-17 total score at week 8 compared to citalopram-treated patients (P<0.05, OC/LOCF). In the pooled subpopulation of severely ill patients (MADRS> or = 30), escitalopram-treated patients showed greater improvement than citalopram-treated patients (P<0.05, LOCF/OC). Escitalopram showed consistently superior efficacy compared to citalopram in the treatment of moderate to severe MDD on all efficacy parameters, and was similarly well tolerated.

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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.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent US and UK clinical practice guidelines recommend that second-generation antidepressants should be considered amongst the best first-line options when drug therapy is indicated for a depressive episode. Systematic reviews have already highlighted some differences in efficacy between second-generation antidepressants. Citalopram, one of the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) introduced in the market, is one of these antidepressant drugs that clinicians use for routine depression care. To assess the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of citalopram in comparison with tricyclics, heterocyclics, other SSRIs and other conventional and non-conventional antidepressants in the acute-phase treatment of major depression. We searched The Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials up to February 2012. No language restriction was applied. We contacted pharmaceutical companies and experts in this field for supplemental data. Randomised controlled trials allocating patients with major depression to citalopram versus any other antidepressants. Two reviewers independently extracted data. Information extracted included study characteristics, participant characteristics, intervention details and outcome measures in terms of efficacy (the number of patients who responded or remitted), patient acceptability (the number of patients who failed to complete the study) and tolerability (side-effects). Thirty-seven trials compared citalopram with other antidepressants (such as tricyclics, heterocyclics, SSRIs and other antidepressants, either conventional ones, such as mirtazapine, venlafaxine and reboxetine, or non-conventional, like hypericum). Citalopram was shown to be significantly less effective than escitalopram in achieving acute response (odds ratio (OR) 1.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08 to 2.02), but more effective than paroxetine (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.96) and reboxetine (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.91). Significantly fewer patients allocated to citalopram withdrew from trials due to adverse events compared with patients allocated to tricyclics (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.78) and fewer patients allocated to citalopram reported at least one side effect than reboxetine or venlafaxine (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.97 and OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.88, respectively). Some statistically significant differences between citalopram and other antidepressants for the acute phase treatment of major depression were found in terms of efficacy, tolerability and acceptability. Citalopram was more efficacious than paroxetine and reboxetine and more acceptable than tricyclics, reboxetine and venlafaxine, however, it seemed to be less efficacious than escitalopram. As with most systematic reviews in psychopharmacology, the potential for overestimation of treatment effect due to sponsorship bias and publication bias should be borne in mind when interpreting review findings. Economic analyses were not reported in the included studies, however, cost effectiveness information is needed in the field of antidepressant trials.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2012; 7:CD006534. · 5.70 Impact Factor

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