Citalopram (Celexa) Safely Curbs Depression in the Young
July 5, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 05 - Treatment with the selective serotonin uptake inhibitor citalopram achieves a significant reduction in symptoms of major depression in children and adolescents, researchers report in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Karen Dineen Wagner of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and colleagues note that previous open label trials had indicated that the agent was safe and effective in such patients.

To investigate further, the researchers conducted an 8-week long double-blind study of 174 patients (ages 12-17 years) with major depressive disorder.

They were randomized to treatment with citalopram or placebo. Citalopram was begun at 20 mg per day and was increased to 40 mg per day at week 4 if clinically indicated. Mean dosage overall amounted to about 24 mg per day.

Patients in the citalopram group showed a significantly greater reduction in mean scores in the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised than did those in the placebo group.

Between-group differences were seen by week 1 and continued until the end of the study. In addition at week 8, the 36% response rate in the citalopram group was significantly greater than the 24% seen in the placebo group.

The incidence of adverse events was similar between groups and none was serious.

These findings, the researchers conclude, "further support the use of citalopram in children and adolescents suffering from depression."

Am J Psychiatry 2004;16:1079-1083.