HealthDay News — For adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), escitalopram reduces symptoms of anxiety, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Jeffrey R. Strawn, M.D., from the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues treated adolescents with GAD with escitalopram or placebo (26 and 25 participants, respectively) for eight weeks. The changes in scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale were assessed as were vital signs and adverse events. Pharmacokinetic parameters of escitalopram were compared across CYP2C19 phenotypes.

The researchers found that for mean baseline-to-end point change in PARS and CGI scores, escitalopram was superior to placebo; increasing CYP2C19 metabolism was associated with reductions in escitalopram maximum concentration and area under the curve during 24 hours. Patients receiving escitalopram and placebo had similar vital signs, corrected QT interval, and adverse events.

“For clinicians treating anxious adolescents, this study provides preliminary answers to important questions about the effectiveness of this treatment,” Strawn said in a statement. “It may also help clinicians predict how quickly patients respond and identify which patients may be less likely to get better. This would help us select alternative treatments for patients who are less likely to respond.”


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Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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