SSRI Effects on Psychomotor Performance: Assessment of Citalopram and Escitalopram on Normal Subjects


  1. Paul, M.A.
  2. Gray, G.W.
  3. Love, R.J.
  4. Lange, M.V.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Standard aeromedical doctrine dictates that aircrew receiving treatment for depression are grounded during treatment and follow-up observation, generally amounting to at least one year. The Canadian Forces has initiated a program to return selected aircrew being treated for depression to restricted flying duties once stabilized on an SSRI with resolution of depression. The currently approved medications are sertraline and bupropion. This study was undertaken to determine whether or not citalopram or es-citalopram effect psychomotor performance. Method. 24 subjects (14 males and 10 females) were assessed for psychomotor performance during placebo, citalopram (40 mg) and es-citalopram (20 mg) treatment, in a double-blind cross-over protocol with counter-balanced treatment order. Each treatment arm lasted two weeks involving a daily morning ingestion of one capsule. There was a 1-week washout period between medication courses. Subjects completed a drug side-effect questionnaire and were tested on 3 psychomotor test batteries once per week. Results. Neither citalopram nor escitalopram effected serial reaction time, logical reasoning , serial subtraction , multitask, or MacWorth clock task performance. With respect to drug side-effects there was a main effect of both drugs on ‘getting to sleep’ (p<.002), ‘returning to sleep’ (p<.0002), ‘dry mouth’ (p<.001), ‘tremors’ (p<.005), ‘drowsiness’ (p<.00001) and ‘difficulty with ejaculation’ (p<.003). There was a m

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citalopram;escitalopram;psychomotor performance;side-effects
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2006-267 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jul 2007
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 78, no 7, 2007, p 693-697
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