Escitalopram Not for Children with Depression

The manufacturer of escitalopram tablet (Lexapro™, Forest) has announced that its antidepressant does not help children or adolescents. The announcement came amid the growing controversy over clinical drug tests.

Lexapro™ contains essentially the same active ingredient as another Forest antidepressant, Celexa®, which is widely prescribed for use in children. The company released a second statement to address how it had handled its disclosure of results from two trials of Celexa® in depressed children.

Pharmaceutical companies have been facing growing pressure on the issue of disclosure of drug test results. The American Medical Association has called on the government to create a database in which trials can be tracked from start to finish.

Forest said that it had issued a safety report to the FDA indicating that Lexapro™ did not cause an increase in the test patients’ suicidal thinking. The company is not permitted to promote either Lexapro™ or Celexa medication as a treatment for depression in young people.

Because Celexa’s patent is about to expire, Forest has been marketing Canadian Lexapro™ to treat adult depression. The company intends to discuss with federal regulators its plan to start more pediatric tests of Lexapro™ in hopes of eventually winning approval for such uses.