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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Feb;213(2-3):639-46. doi: 10.1007/s00213-010-1822-y. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

Efficacy and safety of escitalopram versus citalopram in major depressive disorder: a 6-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, flexible-dose study.

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Mental Health Institute of The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.



S-citalopram (escitalopram) is the very active moiety of citalopram. It has been shown in many studies to be an effective and safe antidepressant for treating major depressive disorder (MDD).


The aim of our study was to compare the efficacy and safety of escitalopram vs citalopram in Chinese MDD patients.


In the double-blind study, 240 MDD patients were randomly assigned to treatment for 6 weeks either with escitalopram (10-20 mg/d) or citalopram (20-40 mg/d). The primary efficacy measurement was the change of 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17) total score from baseline to the end of study. The secondary efficacy measurements were response and remission rates. The adverse events (AEs) were recorded by the investigator.


Two hundred and three (85%) patients completed the trial. The average dose was 13.9 mg/d in the escitalopram group and 27.6 mg/d in the citalopram group. No significant differences were found between the two groups in the change in HAMD-17 total score, response, and remission rate. These results were similar in severe MDD patients. No significant differences were found between the two groups in AEs. No serious AEs were observed in this study.


The study suggests that escitalopram 10-20 mg/d are as effective and safe as citalopram 20-40 mg/d in the short-term treatment for Chinese MDD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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