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Medication benefits depressed CAD patients

25th January 2007

People with coronary heart disease suffering from depression can benefit from taking medication but interpersonal psychotherapy is not necessarily effective, according to new research.

Between 17 and 27 per cent of hospitalised patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) report feeling depressed.

And now, led by Francois Lesprance of the Universit de Montral, scientists in Canada have argued the symptoms can be improved by taking citalopram.

The drug was found to be superior to a placebo in reducing depressive symptoms and remission rates were more favourable in patients taking citalopram.

Patients improved with interpersonal psychotherapy, but there was no evidence to suggest remission rates improved when this method was used.

"Citalopram (or sertraline, as previously shown in a different trial) plus clinical management should be considered for the initial acute-phase treatment for major depression in patients with CAD.

"It remains to be demonstrated that any form of psychotherapy is superior to clinical management in reducing depression symptoms in this group," the researchers concluded.

The study appears in this week's issue of JAMA.