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Starting dose of Lexapro as effective as optimally dosed Zoloft in the treatment of depression

NEW YORK, December 10 Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX) announced today the results of a clinical study, which showed that LexaproTM (escitalopram oxalate) is as effective and well tolerated as Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride). The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether the starting dose of Lexapro, 10 mg per day, could provide comparable efficacy to the full dosing range of Zoloft, 50 200 mg per day. Study results showed that patients receiving a dose of 10 mg per day of Lexapro experienced similar efficacy compared to patients receiving a median dose of Zoloft of 150 mg per day. At week four, 46 percent of Zoloft-treated patients received 150 mg per day or higher, and at week eight, 65 percent received 150 mg per day or higher. To achieve a dose of 150 mg per day or higher, patients treated with Zoloft required at least two dose titrations. Both Lexapro and Zoloft belong to a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The study was presented in Puerto Rico at an annual meeting of neuropsychopharmacologists.

"In this study, most patients experienced relief from depressive symptoms. Patients treated with Lexapro received 10 mg throughout the study period, while patients treated with Zoloft received dosages based on depressive symptoms and the development of side effects," said George Alexopoulos, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "Lexapro is an effective treatment for depression with simple dosing that may improve patient adherence."

Each year, nearly 19 million adult Americans suffer from mild, moderate, or severe depression. One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men can expect to be diagnosed with depression during their lifetime. Depression costs the United States an estimated $44 billion each year. The World Health Organization predicts depression will become the leading cause of disability by the year 2020.

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Contact: Charles E. Triano
212-224-6714
Forest Laboratories
10-Dec-2003


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