Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Antidepressant Has Modest Benefits in Anxious Older Patients

Treating generalized anxiety disorder in patients 60 and older with a selective serotinin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) significantly improved their symptoms as long as they took the drug, researchers here said.

The response rate among patients taking escitalopram (Lexapro) for up to 12 weeks was 69%, compared with 51% assigned to placebo in a randomized trial (P=0.03), reported Eric J. Lenze, M.D., of Washington University, and colleagues in the Jan. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

There were significantly greater improvements with the active drug versus placebo for activity limitations, social function, worry questionnaire scores, and overall anxiety symptoms and role functioning, the researchers said.

But the researchers characterized the improvements in the 179-patient trial as "modest," and diminished further by nonadherence.


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