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Citalopram, a Boon in Treating Depressed Heart Patients

Canadian researchers have come out with findings from a study that indicates the superiority of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like celexa in combating// depression.

Dr. Fran?ois Lespérance, a psychiatrist at the University of Montreal and his colleagues published their findings in this week’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The drug celexa, which goes by the generic name citalopram, is prescribed for patients suffering from major depression that lasts more than two weeks.

Depression is commonly associated with coronary heart disease or CAD. Around 17 to 27 percent of CAD diagnosed patients are found to suffer from depression.

The study involved 284 CAD patients and lasted a period of 12 weeks.

They were asked to undergo three modes of treatment: half to take clinical management with or without psychotherapy sessions and the other half to take the drug celexa or a placebo.

Clinical management included doctor visits to discuss depression and medication use, provide reassurance, and inquire about patients' symptoms. Psychotherapy took place immediately after the clinical management sessions, and dealt with problems such as interpersonal conflicts, life transitions, grief and loss, and social isolation.

The results observed showed that there was reduction in depression symptoms by half as compared with that of the control patients, while surprisingly psychotherapy sessions did not show any reduction in depression.

Standardized depression scores were 67 percent more likely to drop by half on citalopram than placebo, and the chance of depression remitting was almost doubled.

Says Dr. Lesperance, "Citalopram or sertraline, as previously shown in [a different trial], plus clinical management should be considered for the initial acute-phase treatment for major depression in patients with coronary artery disease.”

Physicians Alexan der Glassman and J. Thomas Bigger of the New York State Psychiatric Institute who opine that the study provides further evidence that SSRIs combat depression in heart disease victims support the authors’ findings.

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