Escitalopram in major depressive disorder: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, fixed-dose, parallel trial in a Chinese population.Depress Anxiety. 2008; 25(1):46-54.DA
Escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of citalopram and the most selective of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) has been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of major depression in white populations. Our aim in this study was to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram in Chinese patients with moderate to severe major depression. Patients who met DSM-IV criteria for a major depressive episode were enrolled in this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, fixed-dose comparison trial. Patients were given escitalopram 10 mg/day or fluoxetine 20 mg/day for 8 weeks. All patients were assessed with the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D-17) and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Tolerability was assessed on the basis of adverse effects (measured with a locally developed checklist), regular biochemical tests, and electrocardiograph (ECG) assessments. Two hundred forty patients were enrolled and randomized to escitalopram (123 patients) or fluoxetine (117 patients). The HAM-D-17 total scores of both groups decreased significantly from baseline, but there was no significant difference at week 8 between the two groups (15.8 for escitalopram and 14.7 for fluoxetine; P >.05). There were no significant differences in response rates at all visits after treatment based on either HAM-D-17 or MADRS. A post hoc analysis indicated that escitalopram was superior to fluoxetine on two items of the HAM-D-17: "depressed mood" (P =.023) and "work and interest" (P =.024). The adverse events reported in the escitalopram and fluoxetine groups were comparable, and most were mild to moderate. Both drugs showed good compliance profiles. Escitalopram 10 mg/day is at least as efficacious as fluoxetine 20 mg/day and well tolerated in Chinese patients with major depression, with possible superiority in some core symptoms such as "depressed mood" and "work and interest."