Two-year maintenance treatment with citalopram, 20 mg, in unipolar subjects with high recurrence rate
by
Istituto Scientifico H. San Raffaele,
Department of Neuropsychiatric Sciences,
School of Medicine,
University of Milan, Italy.
franchini.linda@hsr.it
J Clin Psychiatry 1999 Dec; 60(12):861-5


ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The efficacy of citalopram, 20 to 60 mg/day, in relapse prevention in major depression was demonstrated in 6-month placebo-controlled studies. The authors tested the efficacy of citalopram, 40 mg/day, in relapse prevention over a 4-month period and citalopram, 20 mg/day, in recurrence prevention over a 24-month period. METHOD: Fifty inpatients with recurrent major depressive disorder (DSM-IV criteria) who had had at least one depressive episode during the 18 months preceding the index episode were openly treated with citalopram, 40 mg/day. Thirty-six subjects had a stable response to citalopram and remained in the continuation treatment with citalopram, 40 mg/day, for 4 months as outpatients. At the time of recovery, 32 patients gave their written informed consent before entering the 24-month maintenance period with citalopram, 20 mg/day. They were evaluated monthly by trained psychiatrists on the basis of the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Every 3 months, patients were given the Sheehan Disability Scale, a self-rating instrument, to assess their psychosocial adjustment. RESULTS: No relapse was observed in the 4-month continuation period. Sixteen (50%) of 32 patients who entered the 24-month maintenance period had a new recurrence. Patients with recurrence showed a persistent moderate disability on Sheehan Disability Scale score, while no further differences were highlighted in clinical and demographic characteristics between patients with and without recurrence. CONCLUSION: In agreement with previous findings, these data suggest that a full dose of antidepressant is strongly recommended in prophylactic therapy of patients with recurrent major depression. Moreover, it appears that psychosocial impairment may increase the risk of recurrence, thus conditioning a poor outcome.
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