The effect of citalopram was investigated in 20 mentally retarded patients suffering from a depressive disorder characterized by alterations in the domains of affectivity, motivation, motor activity and vital signs. The study followed a baseline-controlled open design. Citalopram was started in a daily dosage of 20 mg that was kept unchanged for 6 weeks. Thereafter dosage was adjusted to maximally 60 mg per day. Treatment effects were assessed according to the Clinical Global Improvement Scale (CGIS) after at least 6 months.
In 12 of the 20 patients a moderate to marked improvement in all domains was observed upon treatment with 20–40 mg citalopram daily. Treatment for one year in the effective dose prevented recurrence of depressive symptomatology. Concomitant use of sedative anticonvulsants reduced responsiveness to treatment. No interactions were observed.
It is concluded that citalopram is a well-tolerated, safe and effective antidepressant in mentally retarded subjects with depressive disorders.