A Pilot Study of Citalopram Treatment in Preventing Relapse of Depressive Episode after Acute Treatment

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.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Michael Cheng

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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