The effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram was studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 4-month trial in patients with the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) who all fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology criteria. The citalopram doses varied between 20–40 mg daily. Forty female patients, 21 patients in the citalopram and 19 in the placebo group, participated. Assessment of pain, depressive symptoms and physical functioning were made using Visual Analogue Scales (VAS), the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Fibrositis Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).
In the global judgement of improvement, no significant changes were found between the citalopram and placebo groups as concerns pain or well-being, either in the Intention to Treat (ITT) analysis or in the completer analysis. However, among the completers, it was a tendency that more patients in the citalopram group (52.9%) were improved as compared to the placebo group (22.2%) concerning well-being.
Furthermore, the results indicated that treatment with citalopram had a significant effect on pain on the VAS after 2 months of treatment compared to baseline. After 4 months, however, the effect had diminished. Measured with the FIQ, significant differences in the pain ratings were seen at the end of the trial.
Significant effects on the depressive symptomatology measured by means of the MADRS were seen already after 1 month of treatment and were increasing further at the end of the trial, when a significant difference between the groups was also found. Copyright 2000 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain