Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status
Results overdue

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Dara Alexandra Charney


Contact details

McGill University Health Centre
Addictions Unit
1604 Pine Avenue West
H3G 1B4
+1 514 934 8311

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Alcohol use disorders: clinical and biological predictors of treatment outcome


Study hypothesis

Primary hypothesis:
Initial treatment with citalopram improves early treatment outcome (e.g. reduces early dropouts, increases duration of abstinence, decreases number of drinking days and/or mean number of drinks per drinking day) among alcoholic patients.

Secondary hypotheses:
1. Depression at intake into addiction treatment, as defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for a current diagnosis of major depression, is a significant positive predictor of response to citalopram (in terms of drinking-related measures), and a significant negative predictor of overall treatment outcome
2. Abnormal serotonin functioning, as measured by high 5HT uptake in platelets, and the presence of the long variant of the SERT promoter is a significant positive predictor of response to citalopram (in terms of drinking-related measures), and a significant negative predictor of overall treatment outcome

As of 25/03/2009 this record was updated to include an updated anticipated end date; the initial anticipated end date was 30/09/2007.

Ethics approval

McGill University Health Centre, Clinical Trials Committee, MUHC - Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC gave approval on the 6th September 2002

Study design

Randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet


Alcohol use disorders


Citalopram 40 mg orally (po) once a day (QD) versus placebo for 12 weeks. Both groups receive the standard addiction treatment (weekly individual and group psychotherapy) for 12 weeks.

Trial details received: 12 Sept 2005

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names


Primary outcome measure

All planned outcomes are measured at 12 weeks, as follows:
1. Percentage change in number of drinking days
2. Percentage change in mean number of drinks per drinking day
3. Maximum duration of continuous abstinence
4. Percentage change in ASI alcohol/drug composite scores
5. Time spent in treatment (retention)
6. Time to first relapse

Secondary outcome measures

All secondary outcomes are measured at 12 weeks:
1. Utilisation of treatment resources (e.g. number of individual/group therapy sessions attended, number of psychiatric appointments, hospitalisation, etc.)
2. Percentage change in number of drinking days
3. Percentage change in depression scores (e.g. Beck Depression Inventory [BDI], Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression [Ham-D], Symptom Checklist [SCL] subscale, etc.)
4. Percentage change in anxiety scores (e.g. Beck Anxiety Inventory [BAI], SCL subscale, etc.)
5. Percentage change in impulsivity scores (e.g. BIS total and subscales)
6. Results of random urine toxicology screening
7. Time to first relapse

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Women and men between 18 and 65 years of age
2. Who request treatment at the Addictions Unit
3. Who suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence (as per DSM-IV diagnostic criteria)
4. Who can be contacted reliably
5. Who have signed the consent form (as approved by the local Clinical Trials Committee)

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. If they currently suffer from another substance dependence, excluding nicotine (as per DSM-IV diagnostic criteria)
2. If they are likely to suffer severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms necessitating hospitalisation (as per American Society of Addiction Medicine guidelines for inpatient alcohol detoxification)
3. If they currently suffer from schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder
4. If they are currently experiencing psychotic symptoms or suicidal ideation (as determined by clinical interviews by the RA and an Addictions Unit psychiatrist)
5. If they are taking or have taken a serotonergic agent in the two weeks prior to enrolment in the study (four weeks in the case of fluoxetine) e.g. any antidepressant medication, including SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, and St. John’s Wort; any mood stabilizer, including carbamazepine, lamotrigine, lithium, and valproate; any antipsychotic medication, including conventional and novel antipsychotics etc.
6. If a female patient is pregnant or breast-feeding - NB women of childbearing potential must be practicing an effective method of birth control while participating in this study, and must agree not to become pregnant during their participation in this study
7. If they have a history of serious adverse reactions or intolerance of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

McGill University Health Centre
H3G 1B4

Sponsor information


The Research Institute, McGill University Health Centre (Canada)

Sponsor details

1650 Cedar Ave
Room S2-214
H3G 1A4

Sponsor type

Research organisation



Funder type

Research organisation

Funder name

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (Canada) - (ref: MCT-59634)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes