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Effects of Citalopram on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer's Dementia: Evidence From the CitAD Study

TitleEffects of Citalopram on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer's Dementia: Evidence From the CitAD Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLeonpacher, AK, Peters, ME, Drye, LT, Makino, KM, Newell, JA, Devanand, DP, Frangakis, C, Munro, CA, Mintzer, JE, Pollock, BG, Rosenberg, PB, Schneider, LS, Shade, DM, Weintraub, D, Yesavage, J, Lyketsos, CG, Porsteinsson, AP, Cit, RGAD
JournalAm J Psychiatry
Date PublishedMay 1
ISBN Number1535-7228 (Electronic)0002-953X (Linking)
Accession Number27032628

OBJECTIVE: Citalopram has been shown to improve agitation in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The authors evaluated whether other neuropsychiatric symptoms improve with citalopram treatment compared with placebo. METHOD: In this planned secondary analysis of the Citalopram for Agitation in Alzheimer's Disease study, the authors evaluated the effect of citalopram on the 12 neuropsychiatric symptom domains assessed by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). They compared caregiver-reported NPI scores at week 9 in patients receiving citalopram (30 mg/day) or placebo with regard to both the presence or absence of individual neuropsychiatric symptoms and individual domain scores (reflecting severity) in participants who had symptoms at week 9. RESULTS: At week 9, participants treated with citalopram were significantly less likely to be reported as showing delusions (odds ratio=0.40), anxiety (odds ratio=0.43), and irritability/lability (odds ratio=0.38). A comparison of median scores of participants with symptoms present at week 9 showed significant differences favoring citalopram for hallucinations and favoring placebo for sleep/nighttime behavior disorders. CONCLUSIONS: While dosage constraints must be considered because of citalopram's adverse effect profile, this agent's overall therapeutic effects in patients with Alzheimer's disease and agitation, in addition to efficacy for agitation/aggression, included reductions in the frequency of irritability, anxiety, and delusions; among patients who had these symptoms at week 9, they included a reduction in the severity of hallucinations but an increase in the severity of sleep/nighttime behavior disorders.