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Depress Anxiety. 1999;9(2):54-60.

Double-blind comparison of citalopram and placebo in depressed outpatients with melancholia.

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Therapeutic Services Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


This multicenter study compared the efficacy and safety of citalopram and placebo in a population of moderately to severely depressed patients with melancholia. This randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study compared citalopram (flexible dose; 20-80 mg/day) with placebo in 180 psychiatric outpatients with a DSM-III diagnosis of major depression or bipolar disorder, depressed, who also met DSM-III criteria for melancholia. Following a 1-week placebo washout period, patients meeting study entry criteria were randomized to 4 weeks of double-blind treatment with either citalopram or placebo. Efficacy measures included the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) Scale, and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. Patients treated with citalopram showed significantly greater improvement at endpoint than placebo patients on the HAM-D, CGI, and Zung scales. On the HAM-D, citalopram patients exhibited significantly greater improvement than placebo patients after 1 week of double-blind treatment and at all subsequent study visits. Endpoint analyses of the HAM-D subscales demonstrated that citalopram produced significant improvement of the psychomotor retardation, cognitive disturbance, sleep disturbance, and melancholia symptom clusters. Nausea, dry mouth, somnolence, dizziness, and increased sweating were reported at higher rates by citalopram-treated patients than by placebo-treated patients, but there were no significant citalopram-placebo differences in the incidence of activation (e.g., anxiety, nervousness, insomnia) or sexual dysfunction. Analysis of electrocardiograms, vital signs, and laboratory tests did not reveal any clinically significant effects of citalopram treatment. The results of this study indicate that citalopram is safe and effective in the treatment of depressed patients with melancholia, and is associated with a favorable side effect profile and a potentially rapid onset of action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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