Escitalopram in the treatment of adolescent depression: A randomized placebo-controlled multisite trial

Graham J. Emslie, Daniel Ventura, Andrew Korotzer, Stavros Tourkodimitris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: This article presents the results from a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of escitalopram in adolescent patients with major depressive disorder. METHOD:: Male and female adolescents (aged 12-17 years) with DSM-IV-defined major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of double-blind treatment with escitalopram 10 to 20 mg/day (n = 155) or placebo (n = 157). The primary efficacy parameter was change from baseline to week 8 in Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) score using the last observation carried forward approach. RESULTS:: A total of 83% patients (259/312) completed 8 weeks of double-blind treatment. Mean CDRS-R score at baseline was 57.6 for escitalopram and 56.0 for placebo. Significant improvement was seen in the escitalopram group relative to the placebo group at endpoint in CDRS-R score (-22.1 versus -18.8, p =.022; last observation carried forward). Adverse events occurring in at least 10% of escitalopram patients were headache, menstrual cramps, insomnia, and nausea; only influenza-like symptoms occurred in at least 5% of escitalopram patients and at least twice the incidence of placebo (7.1% versus 3.2%). Discontinuation rates due to adverse events were 2.6% for escitalopram and 0.6% for placebo. Serious adverse events were reported by 2.6% and 1.3% of escitalopram and placebo patients, respectively, and incidence of suicidality was similar for both groups. CONCLUSIONS:: In this study, escitalopram was effective and well tolerated in the treatment of depressed adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-729
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Depression
  • SSRI
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Escitalopram in the treatment of adolescent depression: A randomized placebo-controlled multisite trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this