Treatment outcomes for older depressed patients with earlier versus late onset of first depressive episode: A sequenced treatment alternatives to relieve depression (STAR*D) report

F. Andrew Kozel, Madhukar H. Trivedi, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Sachiko Miyahara, Mustafa M. Husain, Maurizio Fava, Barry Lebowitz, Sidney Zisook, A. John Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Objective: Controversy exists whether age at onset of the first depressive episode predicts chance of response and remission or the timing of such outcome. In this study of older depressed outpatients, the authors evaluated whether the age at onset of the first major depressive episode (MDE) was related to clinical outcomes. Design: Post-hoc dataset analysis for older participants treated with citalopram in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression trial was performed. Side effects, remission rates, and baseline characteristics were compared for participants whose first MDE began at or before age 55 (earlier onset) versus those with their first MDE after age 55 (late onset). Setting: Participants were enrolled from 23 psychiatric and 18 primary care settings. Participants: There were 574 treatment-seeking outpatients (age range: 55-75 years) with nonpsychotic major depressive disorder who had a baseline 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score of ≥14. Intervention: Participants received citalopram treatment for up to 14 weeks. Measurements: Remission was defined by a 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Rated score of <5 at study exit. Side effects were measured by the Frequency, Intensity, and Burden of Side Effects Rating. Results: Of 574participants, 72.1% had earlier-onset depression and 27.9% had late-onset depression. Remission rates were not statistically different between earlier-onset (30.8%) and late-onset (31.9%) participants. Time to remission did not differ as well. Conclusion: The self-reported age at onset of the first MDE being after age 55 was not related to clinical outcomes for participants 55 to 75 years of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008



  • Citalopram
  • D)
  • Depression
  • Late onset
  • Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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