Prevention of depression in patients with acute coronary syndrome (DECARD) randomized trial: effects on and by self-reported health




Escitalopram may prevent depression following acute coronary syndrome. We sought to estimate the effects of escitalopram on self-reported health and to identify subgroups with higher efficacy.


This is a secondary analysis of a 12-month double-blind clinical trial randomizing non-depressed acute coronary syndrome patients to escitalopram (n = 120) or matching placebo (n = 120). The main outcomes were mean scores on Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) domains, and diagnosis of depression was adjusted for baseline SF-36 scores.


Escitalopram did not yield different SF-36 trajectories on any scale compared with placebo (P > 0.28). Efficacy of escitalopram may have been better among those scoring at least the normative score on general health perceptions (hazard ratio (HR) for depression 0.17 (95% confidence interval 0.02–1.42) ) or social functioning (HR = 0.12 (0.02–0.99) ) than in the full sample of patients (HR = 0.20 (0.04–0.90) ), although not statistically significant.


The SF-36 may be too broad an outcome measure in trials or treatments that seek to prevent depression following acute coronary syndrome. The SF-36 may, however, indicate who is more likely to benefit from treatment.