Relapse prevention by citalopram in SAD patients responding to 1 week of light therapy. A placebo-controlled study

Martiny K, Lunde M, Simonsen C, Clemmensen L, Poulsen DL, Solstad K, Bech P.

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Mar;109(3):230-4. PubMed PMID: 14984396.


We have tested the relapse-preventive effect of citalopram when compared with placebo in 282 patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) responding to 1 week of light therapy.

The response rate to 1-week light therapy and relapse during the continuation phase of 15 weeks were assessed by use of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17), the six-item subscale (HAM-D6), the Melancholia Scale (MES), and the combined HAM-D/SIGH-SAD.

The response rate to light therapy was 62.5% on the HAM-D17 and the HAM-D6, 56.1% on the HAM-D/SIGH-SAD, 52.8% on the MES. In the continuation phase, citalopram was found superior to placebo on all scales, but the difference was only of statistical significance on the HAM-D6 and the MES. Mean citalopram dose was 26.3 mg.

Light therapy was found to have and early onset of action. On the HAM-D6 and the MES citalopram significantly reduced the relapse rate in the continuation phase.

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