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Targeted to Treat Depression – new generation SSRI

Lundbeck Media Release
3 July 2003
Targeted to Treat Depression – new generation SSRI
Lexapro® now available in New Zealand

Lexapro® (escitalopram), one of the world’s most advanced antidepressant drugs has been launched in New Zealand which is one of more than 35 countries to have approved the new-generation selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Lexapro® is a refinement of citalopram (Cipramil®.), a well-established antidepressant. Both products are produced by international pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck. Lexapro® is marketed throughout Europe as Cipralex® and in the United States, where it accounts for 10 per cent of the new prescription antidepressant market , as LexaproTM.

Lexapro® is highly effective in the treatment of depression offering patients an early onset of effect . The starting dose for Lexapro® is 10mg, in comparison with the 20mg-starting dose of Cipramil®.

According to Dr Mark Huthwaite, a Wellington consultant psychiatrist, data suggests that Lexapro® may work faster than Cipramil®.2. Some clinical studies indicate that it separates from placebo as early as week one2. Like Cipramil®., Lexapro®. has the same favourable tolerability profile , .

“Clinical studies show that Lexapro®. has a low potential for drug interactions , effectively treats anxiety symptoms associated with depression , and is also effective in the treatment of severe depression2,” says Dr Huthwaite.


Dr Huthwaite says the combination of robust efficacy, early onset of action, favourable tolerability, and low potential for drug interactions suggest that Lexapro®. could confidently be used by general practitioners as a first line antidepressant.

“The pharmacology of Lexapro®. is an exciting development and promises a significant addition to the modern therapeutic armamentarium for the treatment of depression.”

Dr Huthwaite says he is excited at the prospect of having a new antidepressant available that will not just be prescribed by so called “experts” but rather one that all doctors prescribing antidepressants will use.

“This is particularly important bearing in mind that the treatment of the majority of people with depression is by primary care doctors. This practise is In accordance with new health objectives in New Zealand to have the management of depression in a primary care setting by general practitioners working in collaboration with specialists.”


Issued by Core Communications

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