Citalopram versus other anti‐depressive agents for depression

Added November 12, 2019

Citation: Cipriani A., Purgato M., Furukawa T.A., et al C. Citalopram versus other anti‐depressive agents for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD006534. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006534.pub2.

Citalopram was shown to be significantly less effective than escitalopram in achieving acute response, but more effective than paroxetine and reboxetine.

Major depression is a severe mental illness characterised by a persistent and unreactive low mood and loss of all interest and pleasure, usually accompanied by a range of symptoms including appetite change, sleep disturbance, fatigue, loss of energy, poor concentration, inappropriate guilt and thoughts of death. Antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate‐to‐severe major depression. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including citalopram have become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. This review aimed to assess efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of citalopram in comparison with other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Thirty‐seven randomised controlled trials (more than 6000 participants) were included in this review. Differences between citalopram and other antidepressants for the acute phase treatment of major depression were found in terms of efficacy, tolerability and acceptability. Citalopram was more efficacious than paroxetine and reboxetine and more acceptable than tricyclics, reboxetine and venlafaxine, however, it seemed to be less efficacious than escitalopram.  Researchers noted that the potential for overestimation of treatment effect due to sponsorship bias and publication bias should be borne in mind when interpreting review findings.


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