Remission For One-Third of Depressed Patients With SSRI

Many patients respond to citalopram at or after eight weeks

TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of depressed patients achieve remission after taking the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram, many of them after taking the drug for eight weeks or more, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Madhukar H. Trivedi, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and colleagues analyzed data on 2,876 outpatients with major depressive disorder involved in the STAR*D study (Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression). The National Institute of Mental Health funded the study, and several drug companies provided medications at no cost.

The patients, treated in 23 psychiatric and 18 primary care settings, received a mean dose of 41.8 mg per day of citalopram for up to 14 weeks.

In the study's initial results, the researchers found patients had remission rates of 28% on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and 33% on the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Self-Report.

"The response and remission rates in this highly generalizable sample with substantial axis I and axis III comorbidity closely resemble those seen in eight-week efficacy trials," the authors write. "The systematic use of easily implemented measurement-based care procedures may have assisted in achieving these results."

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