A pilot study: Cardiac parameters in children receiving new-generation antidepressants

Mai Uchida*, Andrea E. Spencer, Tara Kenworthy, James Chan, Maura Fitzgerald, Ana Maria Rosales, Elana Kagan, Alexandra Saunders, Joseph Biederman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Because of concerns about potential associations between high doses of citalopram and QTc prolongation in adults, this study examined whether such associations are operant in children.We hypothesized that therapeutic doses of nontricyclic antidepressant medications (non-TCAs) prescribed to children would be cardiovascularly safe. Study Design: The sample consisted of 49 psychiatrically referred children and adolescents 6 to 17 years old of both sexes treated with a non-TCA (citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, bupropion, duloxetine, venlafaxine, mirtazapine). To standardize the doses of different antidepressants, we converted doses of individualmedicines into "citalopram equivalent doses" (CEDs) based on dosing recommendation for individual antidepressants. Correlation analysis was carried out to compare the continuous andweight-based CED to variables of interest. AQTc grouping was defined as normal, borderline, or abnormal, and CED was compared across QTc groupings using linear regression. An antidepressant dosage group was defined as low or high dose, and a t test compared variables of interest across dosage groups. Results: No significant associations were found between total or weightcorrected CEDs of any antidepressant examined and QTc or any other electrocardiogram or blood pressure parameters. In patients taking citalopram or escitalopram, a significant correlation was found between PR interval and total daily dose, which disappeared when weight-based doses were used or when corrected by age. Conclusions: Although limited by a relatively small sample size, these results suggest that therapeutic doses of non-TCA antidepressants when used in children do not seem to be associated with prolonged QTc interval or other adverse cardiovascular effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-362
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Antidepressant
  • Arrhythmia
  • Children
  • EKG
  • QTc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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