A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of citalopram in adolescents with major depressive disorder

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006 Jun;26(3):311-5. doi: 10.1097/01.jcp.0000219051.40632.d5.


In a European, multicenter, double-blind study, 244 adolescents, 13 to 18 years old, with major depression were randomized to treatment with citalopram (n = 124) or placebo (n = 120). One third of the patients in both groups withdrew from the study. No significant differences in improvement of scores from baseline to week 12 between citalopram and placebo were found. The response rate was 59% to 61% in both groups according to the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for school-aged children-Present episode version (Kiddie-SADS-P) (depression and anhedonia scores < or =2) and Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) (> or =50% reduction). Remission (MADRS score < or =12) was achieved by 51% of patients with citalopram and 53% with placebo. A post hoc analysis revealed that more than two thirds of all patients received psychotherapy during this study. For those patients not receiving psychotherapy, there was a higher percentage of Kiddie-SADS-P responders with citalopram (41%) versus placebo (25%) and a significantly higher percentage of MADRS responders and remitters with citalopram (52% and 45%, respectively) versus placebo (22% and 19%, respectively). Mild to moderate treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in 75% citalopram and 71% of placebo patients, most commonly headache, nausea, and insomnia. Serious adverse events occurred in 14% to 15% in both groups. Suicide attempts, including suicidal thoughts and tendencies, were reported by 5 patients in the placebo group and by 14 patients in the citalopram group (not significant) with no pattern with respect to duration of treatment, time of onset, or dosage. In contrast, the suicidal ideation (Kiddie-SADS-P) single item showed worsening more frequently in the placebo (18%) than in the citalopram group (8%).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Citalopram / administration & dosage
  • Citalopram / adverse effects
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Citalopram