The results of a clinical drug trial have shown that the drug used for depression, citalopram, might considerably help relieve anxiety in patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. However it could be at the expense of slightly declining cognitive functioning and also possible chance of an increasing risk of heart attack.
The drug is retailed out under the brand names Cipramil and Celexa and also comes in a generic version. It could also be more harmless than the antipsychotic medications which are presently used in treating various anxiety conditions, stated the study which was led by researchers from seven different academic medical centers across the United States and Canada.
Antipsychotics are most often used as the first line of medications for any Alzheimer’s related distress, but the scientists explained how those drugs considerably raise the risk of deaths from heart attacks and strokes. The researchers enlisted nearly 190 patients who had Alzheimer’s disease that were suffering from an assortment of symptoms including aggression, excessive movement, disruptive irritability and emotional distress.
During the nine week study, the patients were placed into two different groups. Around half of them were given increasing doses of citalopram which ended up peaking at 30 milligrams each day while the others received a duplicate looking placebo. The results of the study revealed that just under 42 percent of the patients who were given the citalopram had substantial relief in relation to agitation compared to just over 25 percent of the patients who were given the placebo to take.
However the patients who were given the antidepressant drug were also much more likely to have marginally decreased mental function. The lessening in mental reasoning was not huge, but it was measurable, stated the research study lead author Constantine Lyketsos. She is a director at the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
The patients who took the citalopram also showed to have an increase in QT recesses, which were a measure of irregular heart functions that caused a raise in the chance of heart attack risks. But Lyketsos stated that antipsychotic medications were also known to raise the risk of heart attacks as well, possibly even more significantly.
The researchers are next planning to see if a lower dose of citalopram may be just as effective in treating any Alzheimer’s connected anxiety but with less health problems for heart functions and cognition. But due to the factors about heart attacks and strokes, clinicians that are treating Alzheimer’s patients should be very cautious about using the depression drug, and should try to first attempt to use a dose that is below 20 mg per day. But the research study has not yet done enough tests on patients to have any determining benefits at that dose at this time.
The results of the clinical drug trial have shown that the drug used for depression, citalopram, might considerably help relieve anxiety in patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This article first appeared on ‘Liberty Voice’ on 18 February 2014.