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Effects of escitalopram on stress-related relapses in women with multiple sclerosis: an open-label, randomized, controlled, one-year follow-up study.

Author(s): Mitsonis CI, Zervas IM, Potagas CM, Mitropoulos PA, Dimopoulos NP, Sfagos CA, Papadimitriou GN, Vassilopoulos DC

Affiliation(s): First Department of Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Halandri-Athens, Greece. ectorcenter@yahoo.gr

Publication date & source: 2010-02, Eur Neuropsychopharmacol., 20(2):123-31.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

A growing body of evidence supports the association between Stressful Life Events (SLEs) and increased risk for relapse in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In this open-label, randomized, controlled, one-year prospective study we investigated the effects of escitalopram on stress-related relapses in 48 women with relapsing-remitting MS. Patients were randomly assigned either to receive escitalopram 10mg/day (e-group, N=24) or to continue with treatment as usual, as a control group (c-group, N=24). SLEs were documented weekly in self-report diaries and were classified afterwards as short- or long-term depending on their psychological impact as this was subjectively felt by the patient. The cumulative risk for relapse was 2.9 times higher for controls than for escitalopram-treated patients (95% CI=1.7-5.1, p<0.001) and it was influenced only by long-term SLEs. In the e-group only 3 or more long-term SLEs were associated with a significant increase of the risk of a relapse during the following 4 weeks, and this risk was 4 times lower compared to the c-group. Our study shows preliminary evidence that escitalopram may constitute an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for the prevention of stress-related relapses in women with MS.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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