Thursday, May 18, 2006

Battle of the Antidepressants

DailyUpdates 18th May, 2006: As the antidepressant sector continues to go through a period of turbulance we report on new data for one blockbuster from this class - Lexapro. Selected for special mention from over 50 journal articles today's feature demonstrates great timing appearing at the same time as our feature - Major Depressive Disorder. Today's edition of DailyUpdates can be seen here

Comparative efficacy of Escitalopram (Lexapro) in an increasingly dynamic and turbulent market -
Major Depressive Disorder is estimated to affect over 34 million individuals yearly across the seven major markets. Only a fraction of this patient population is treated adequately, resulting in lost productivity, unnecessary patient suffering and unfulfilled revenue potential for manufacturers. Despite this in 2004 total world revenues for branded antidepressant drugs was worth over $13bn, but with only ten drugs on the market.
Escitalopram (Lexapro) is the most selective of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants (for an analysis of current treatments and prescribing trends, see our 2006 feature Major Depressive Disorder). Previous studies have suggested that escitalopram is superior to citalopram (Celexa) in efficacy. Forest Laboratories markets both of these agents in the US generating $1.9 billion and $0.2 billion respectively. Today's featured journal article presents a meta-analysis of studies in which escitalopram was compared with other antidepressants to assess the relative efficacy of these agents. In this meta-analysis, escitalopram showed significant superiority in efficacy compared with the active controls. During the period 2006-2010 nine out of these ten drugs faces a loss of patent; Lexapro's patent expires in 2009 with a possible extension to 2012. As the appearance of generics gradually increases clinicians will have to see Lexapro as being more effective in order for this therapeutic to resist competion from cheaper alternatives and today's feature meta analysis is important in this context. For an in depth look at the future of the antidepressant arena see The World Market for Antidepressants 2006


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