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Depress Anxiety. 2004;19(4):234-40.

Escitalopram in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: double-blind, placebo controlled, flexible-dose study.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Escitalopram has been shown in clinical trials to improve anxiety symptoms associated with depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Outpatients (18 years or older) who met DSM-IV criteria for GAD, with baseline Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAMA) scores > or = 18, were randomly assigned to double blind treatment with escitalopram (10 mg/day for the first 4 weeks and then flexibly dosed from 10-20 mg/day) or placebo for 8 weeks, following a 1-week, single-blind, placebo lead-in period. The primary efficacy variable was the mean change from baseline in total HAMA score at Week 8. The escitalopram group (N = 158) showed a statistically significant, and clinically relevant, greater improvement at endpoint compared with placebo (N = 157) in all prospectively defined efficacy parameters. Significant improvement in HAMA total score and HAMA psychic anxiety subscale score for the escitalopram-treated group vs. the placebo-treated group was observed beginning at Week 1 and at each study visit thereafter. Mean changes from baseline to Week 8 on the HAMA total score using a last-observation-carried-forward (LOCF) approach were -11.3 for escitalopram and -7.4 for placebo (P<.001). Response rates at Week 8 were 68% for escitalopram and 41% for placebo (P<.01) for completers, and 58% for escitalopram and 38% for placebo LOCF values (P<.01). Treatment with escitalopram was well tolerated, with low rates of reported adverse events and an incidence of discontinuation due to adverse events not statistically different from placebo (8.9% vs. 5.1%; P=.27). Escitalopram 10-20 mg/day is effective, safe, and well tolerated in the treatment of patients with GAD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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