Outcomes of Late-Life Anxiety Disorders During 32 Weeks of Citalopram Treatment
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(3):468-472
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Anxiety disorders are
common in later life, but little is known about the
long-term benefits and risks of pharmacotherapy.
Method: 30 patients aged 60 years and
older, with a DSM-IV anxiety disorder, entered a
32-week trial of citalopram. Data gathered at baseline and follow-up included anxiety
symptoms using Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety
(HAM-A) scores, quality of life using the Medical
Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form (SF-36), and sleep using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality
Index (PSQI). Data analysis consisted of
mixed-effect repeated measures models of HAM-A scores
and pre-post comparison of SF-36 and PSQI scores.
Results: 30 persons entered treatment;
most (27/30) had a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (2 had panic disorder;
1 had posttraumatic stress disorder). Three
subjects discontinued study medication due to side
effects, 5 were terminated because of nonresponse, and
5 dropped out of the study for other reasons;
thus, 17 subjects (57%) completed 32 weeks of
treatment. Subjects' HAM-A scores improved significantly, with continuing improvements up
until about 20 weeks of treatment. On the basis of
a criterion of reduction in HAM-A to < 10 during the trial, 60% (18/30) of subjects were
responders. Those who completed the 32-week trial
had significant improvements in sleep and quality
of life-including social functioning, vitality,
mental health, and role difficulties due to
Conclusions: In this 32-week study of
citalopram for elderly persons with anxiety
disorders, 60% responded. Those who received a full
course of treatment experience significant
improvements in quality of life and sleep quality.