Predicting 6-week treatment response to escitalopram pharmacotherapy in late-life major depressive disorder

Ramin Saghafi, Charlotte Brown, Meryl A. Butters, Jill Cyranowski, Mary Amanda Dew, Ellen Frank, Ariel Gildengers, Jordan F. Karp, Eric J. Lenze, Francis Lotrich, Lynn Martire, Sati Mazumdar, Mark D. Miller, Benoit H. Mulsant, Elizabeth Weber, Ellen Whyte, Jennifer Morse, Jacqueline Stack, Patricia R. Houck, Salem BensasiCharles F. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective: Approximately half of older patients treated for major depressive disorder (MDD) do not achieve symptomatic remission and functional recovery with first-line pharmacotherapy. This study aims to characterize sociodemographic, clinical, and neuropsychologic correlates of full, partial, and non-response to escitalopram monotherapy of unipolar MDD in later life. Methods: One hundred and seventy-five patients aged 60 and older were assessed at baseline on demographic variables, depression severity, hopelessness, anxiety, cognitive functioning, co-existing medical illness burden, social support, and quality of life (disability). Subjects received 10mg/d of open-label escitalopram and were divided into full (n = 55; 31%), partial (n = 75; 42.9%), and non-responder (n = 45; 25.7%) groups based on Hamilton depression scores at week 6. Univariate followed by multivariate analyses tested for differences between the three groups. Results: Non-responders to treatment were found to be more severely depressed and anxious at baseline than both full and partial responders, more disabled, and with lower self-esteem than full responders. In general partial responders resembled full responders more than they resembled non-responders. In multivariate models, more severe anxiety symptoms (both psychological and somatic) and lower self-esteem predicted worse response status at 6 weeks. Conclusion: Among treatment-seeking elderly persons with MDD, higher anxiety symptoms and lower self-esteem predict poorer response after six weeks of escitalopram treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1146
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Escitalopram
  • Major depression
  • Old age
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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