Lexapro Bests Effexor in Depression Study
First Head-to-Head Comparison of the Popular Antidepressants
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 9, 2002 -- A new antidepressant works faster with fewer
side effects than a competitor, according to new research.
The first head-to-head study of two antidepressants shows
Lexapro is not only as effective as the popular antidepressant Effexor XR but
appears to relieve symptoms faster with fewer side effects.
Study researcher Stuart Montgomery, of the Imperial College
School of Medicine at the University of London, presented the findings this
week at a meeting of specialists in treating mental health conditions.
The study compared the effectiveness of the two drugs in
relieving depression in 288 people who were randomly assigned to take either
drug for eight weeks.
Although both drugs effectively eased symptoms and relieved
depression in most patients, the researchers found Lexapro prompted a quicker
For example, researchers found a significantly larger number of
people who took Lexapro had achieved a sustained response to the drug by week
six than those treated with Effexor XR. Lexapro-treated patients also
experienced a complete remission of their symptoms an average of more than six
days faster than the other patients.
Researchers say the early response found with Lexapro is
especially important because compliance is a major problem in the treatment of
depression -- depressed patients are likely to stop taking a drug if they don't
In addition, the study showed Lexapro seemed to be better
tolerated by its users, and fewer Lexapro participants dropped out of the study
due to side effects.
However, the majority of patients on either drug (69% for
Lexapro and 76% for Effexor XR) reported side effects such as nausea, headache,
The FDA approved Lexapro in August for treating depression. It
was created using a relatively new approach that removed inactive ingredients
in Celexa -- yielding a safer and more potent form of the medication.