Effectiveness and tolerability of citalopram for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents: An open-label study

Shella Schirman, Sefi Kronenberg, Alan Apter, David Brent, Nadine Melhem, Nimrod Pick, Miri Carmel, Amos Frisch, Abraham Weizman, Doron Gothelf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To assess the effectiveness and tolerability of citalopram for the acute treatment of children and adolescents suffering from depression and/or anxiety disorders. As much as 78 outpatients, aged 7-18 years with a diagnosis of depressive and/or anxiety disorder, completed an 8-week open trial with citalopram (20-40 mg/day). Outcome, side effects and suicidality were assessed weekly to bi-weekly using appropriate rating scales. At endpoint 56% of subjects were found to be responders (Clinical Global Impression-Improvement [CGI-I] Scale ≤ 2). Subjects with less severe psychopathology and subjects with anxiety disorders showed a more favorable response. As much as 43% of depressed and 51% of anxious subjects had a 50% or greater reduction in scores on our secondary outcome measures, Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) and Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED). Most reported adverse events were mild to moderate and did not affect medication adherence. No increase in suicidality was observed during the study. Citalopram was moderately effective, generally well tolerated and safe for the acute treatment of depressed and anxious children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study has been approved by the local ethics committee and has therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. This work was supported by the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel (Grant No. 2006-2), Adams Super Center for Brain Research (Tel Aviv University), the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation and a National Alliance for Research and Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award (Dr. Melhem), and a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award (Dr. Brent).


  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Suicidality


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