Escitalopram in the treatment of multisomatoform disorder: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Muller J.E. ; Wentzel I. ; Koen L. ; Niehaus D.J.H. ; Seedat S. ; Stein D.J. (2008)


Despite the prevalence of multisomatoform disorder (MSD), there are few controlled trials of its pharmacotherapy. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of escitalopram (10-20 mg/day) with that of placebo in treating patients with MSD over a 12-week period. Fifty-one outpatients aged from 18 to 65 years, with multiple medically unexplained symptoms, were recruited. The primary efficacy measure was a change on the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 scores from baseline to endpoint. Secondary efficacy endpoints included the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement score, the psychic and somatic subscales of the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the Visual Analogue Pain Rating Scale, the Scale for the Assessment of Illness Behaviour and the Sheehan Disability Scale. On the primary analysis of covariance, escitalopram-treated patients had significantly greater reductions in Patient Health Questionnaire scores (P<0.0001) compared with placebo at week 12. Significant separation from placebo occurred from week 6 onwards. Escitalopram was superior to placebo on all secondary outcome endpoints, with the exception of the Scale for the Assessment of Illness Behaviour. The medication was well tolerated. In conclusion, in this 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled study, escitalopram (10-20 mg/day) was both effective and well tolerated in the treatment of patients with MSD. Compared with placebo, escitalopram was associated with lower symptom scores, increased response and remission rates, and improved functioning. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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