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Menopause. 2006 Sep-Oct;13(5):780-6.

Escitalopram versus ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate for symptomatic peri- and postmenopausal women: impact on depression, vasomotor symptoms, sleep, and quality of life.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



To examine the efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram (ESCIT) compared to estrogen and progestogen therapy (EPT) for the treatment of symptomatic peri- and postmenopausal women.


Forty women (aged 40-60 years) with depressive disorders and menopause-related symptoms were randomly assigned to an 8-week open trial with ESCIT (flexible dose, 10-20 mg/day; fixed dose, 10 mg/day for the first 4 weeks) or estrogen plus progestogen therapy (ethinyl estradiol 5 microg/day plus norethindrone acetate 1 mg/day). Primary outcome measures included Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Greene Climacteric Scale at week 8. Secondary outcome measures included the Clinical Global Impressions as well as sleep and quality of life assessments.


Thirty-two women (16 on EPT, 16 on ESCIT) were included in the analyses. Full remission of depression (score of <10 on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale) was observed in 75% (12/16) of subjects treated with ESCIT, compared to 25% (4/16) treated with EPT (P = 0.01, Fisher's exact tests). Remission of menopause-related symptoms (>50% decrease in Greene Climacteric Scale scores) was noted in 56% (9/16) of women treated with ESCIT compared to 31.2% (5/16) on EPT (P = 0.03, Pearson's chi2 tests). Improvement in sleep, hot flashes, and quality of life was observed with both treatments.


ESCIT is more efficacious than EPT for the treatment of depression and has a positive impact on other menopause-related symptoms. ESCIT may constitute a treatment option for symptomatic menopausal women who are unable or unwilling to use hormone therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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