(HealthDay News) – Treatment with escitalopram reduces mental stress-induced myocardial ischemia (MSIMI) in patients with heart disease and MSIMI, according to a study published in the May 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wei Jiang, MD, from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and colleagues randomly assigned 127 patients with clinically stable coronary heart disease and diagnosed with MSIMI to daily treatment with placebo or escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

After six weeks, the researchers found that a significantly higher percentage of the escitalopram group did not develop MSIMI during three mental stressor tasks (34.2% vs. 17.5%; odds ratio, 2.62). The rates of exercise-induced ischemia were also lower in the escitalopram group (45.8% vs. 52.5%; adjusted odds ratio, 1.24), although this did not reach statistical significance.

“Among patients with stable coronary heart disease and baseline MSIMI, six weeks of escitalopram, compared with placebo, resulted in a lower rate of MSIMI,” Jiang and colleagues conclude.

Escitalopram and matched placebo were supplied by the Forest Research Institute. Several authors disclosed financial ties to drug and device companies, and two authors are named on patent applications related to the study.

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