To view original article click here
The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle
By Robin L. Flanigan
Monday, April 23, 2001
Stanford University researchers are studying whether a pill can squash the urge to splurge.
The drug – sold under such trade names as Celexa, Cipramil and Seropram – is a member of the newest class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
An initial trial that ended in January, funded by the New York City-based pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories, had 24 compulsive shoppers taking an antidepressant for 12 weeks. Preliminary results had 80 percent of the patients reporting less anxiety, less depression and less impulsiveness.Not everyone is buying the findings.
“I think it’s bogus,” says Laurence Guttmacher, chief of psychiatry at the Rochester (N.Y.) Psychiatric Center. “If it’s a prospective trial and if there’s a placebo control, then I start to get impressed. Absent that, frankly, there’s nothing really to hang your hat on.”
Study leader Lorrin Koran, a professor of psychiatry and director of Stanford’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic, will be double-blinding a second trial this year to put that control in place.
Neither the doctor nor the volunteers will know whose medication has been replaced with a placebo, preventing patients from improving simply based on their expectations.