Background. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are widely used in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. Escitalopram is considered the most selective serotonin transporter inhibitor, demonstrating a good efficacy and tolerability. The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of Aciprex (escitalopram) in the treatment of outpatients with episodes of depression and in anxiety disorders.
Material and method. Two hundred and thirty three psychiatrists decided to participate in the study. In the case of indications for application of escitalopram due to depressive episodes or anxiety disorders, they started pharmacotherapy in doses of 10–20 mg. The severity of the symptoms was assessed using the Clinical Global Impression Severity scale (CGI-S), while the impact of symptoms on different aspects of patients functioning was measured with a self-report Numeric Rating Scale (NRS). The assessment was performed before the initiation of treatment and during control visits after week 4 and 8, when Clinical Global Impression improvement scale – CGI-I) was used additionally.
Results. 3986 patients, 43% with recurrent depression, 25% with first episodes of depression and the remaining with anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, social phobia) were involved in the study. A significant reduction in the severity of symptoms according to CGI-S and CGI-I was found. Both patients with depressive episodes and anxiety disorders treated with Aciprex reported a significant reduction of the negative impact of symptoms on activity, sleep, relations with others and general quality of life. Side effects from their gastrointestinal systems and central nervous systems appeared in 5% of patients and were usually of mild intensity (61.6%). Only 13 patients with side effects led to the discontinuation of treatment.
Conclusions. The eight-weeks of treatment with Acirex showed a significant improvement in their symptoms of depressive episodes and anxiety disorders as well as the reduction in the negative impact of symptoms on different aspects of patients functioning was found. Aciprex was well tolerated, side effects typical for SSRI’s were reported by less than 5% of patients.