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Original Research

An Open-Label, Rater-Blinded, Flexible-Dose, 8-Week Trial of Escitalopram in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder With Atypical Features

Chi-Un Pae Prakash S. Masand Kathleen Peindl Paolo Mannelli Changsu Han David M. Marks Ashwin A. Patkar

Published: June 16, 2008

Article Abstract

Objectives: Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have become the standard of care for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), limited data exist to support their use in MDD with atypical features. The current study investigates the efficacy of the SSRI escitalopram in an 8-week, open-label, flexible-dose, rater-blinded trial.

Method: Seventeen DSM-IV MDD subjects aged from 18 through 65 years completed screening procedures, provided informed consent, and went through a minimum 2-week washout from preexisting antidepressants except fluoxetine (a minimum 4-week washout). They subsequently received escitalopram (10-20 mg/day) for 8 weeks. The primary efficacy measure was a change in score from baseline to end of treatment on the Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression-Seasonal Affective Disorder version (SIGH-SAD), which includes a set of items for atypical symptoms. Secondary efficacy measures were defined as changes from baseline to end of treatment in scores on the SIGH-SAD atypical symptoms subscale (consisting of 8 items specific to atypical features), Beck Depression Inventory-II, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Sheehan Disability Scale, and Epworth Sleepiness Questionnaire. The study was conducted from October 2005 to November 2006.

Results: The mean age was 43.9 years, and 70.6% of subjects were women. The dropout rate was 11.8% (N = 2/17). The mean dose of escitalopram was 18.3 mg/day. The total SIGH-SAD score (mean ± SD) reduced by 53.8% from baseline (33.3 ± 8.2) to end of treatment (15.4 ± 9.4) (t = 4.24, p = 50% reduction in SIGH-SAD total score. Overall, escitalopram was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Our preliminary study indicates that escitalopram may be beneficial in the treatment of MDD with atypical features. Adequately powered, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to determine the efficacy of escitalopram in this disorder.

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