This 8-week, randomised, double-blind study compared the efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram to that of venlafaxine XR in primary care patients with major depressive disorder. The efficacy of escitalopram (10– 20 mg; n = 148) was similar to venlafaxine XR (75– 150 mg; n = 145), based on mean change from baseline to week 8 in Montgomery and Åsberg Depression Rating Scale total score. In ad hoc analyses, escitalopram-treated patients achieved sustained remission significantly faster than did venlafaxine-treated patients. More venlafaxine-treated patients had nausea, constipation, and increased sweating (p < 0.05). When treatment was completed after 8 weeks, significantly more venlafaxine-treated patients had discontinuation symptoms (p < 0.01). Thus escitalopram treatment was similar to venlafaxine treatment with respect to efficacy and was better tolerated by patients in primary care.
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