To examine the benefit of continuation treatment with citalopram in adolescents 13 to 18 years of age with major depression using a multi-site randomized placebo controlled discontinuation design.
Subjects with depression who responded to open label treatment with citalopram in 12-week acute phase were randomized to continued treatment with citalopram or placebo for 24 weeks.
Twenty five subjects were randomized to either continued treatment with citalopram (n = 12) versus placebo (n = 13). Seventy-five percent of subjects on citalopram (75%) remained well as compared to placebo (62%). Time to relapse was compared between groups using the log rank test and was not found to be significantly different (χ2(1) = 0.35, P = 0.55). A Cox proportional hazards model including drug assignment (hazard ratio (HR = 0.51, 95% CI 0.11 to 2.36, P = 0.39), gender (HR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.14 to 2.37, P = 0.44), or HAM-score at entry to continuation phase (HR = 1.33, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.95, P = 0.95) was not significant.
Although we did not find statistically significant differences between citalopram and placebo, the findings suggest a possible benefit of continued treatment with citalopram over placebo. A larger clinical trial with adequate power is required to confirm or disconfirm these findings.
Investigator, CHEO Research Institute