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Sept. 22, 2003 — Morning light therapy helps augment therapy with citalopram for inpatients with major depression, according to a presentation on Sept. 22 at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting held in Prague, the Czech Republic. Treatment with 400 lux green light for 30 minutes was effective compared with placebo and was devoid of adverse effects.

"The study was aimed at speeding up response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with a chronobiological technique. We phase-advanced exposure to morning light of about two hours, by individually timing the exposure to a lamp," coauthor Francesco Benedetti, MD, from the Universitàà Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, told Medscape.

"To our surprise, the subjective evaluations of the patients showed that the first signs of amelioration were evident as soon as the third day of treatment. In this respect, the rapidity of action of this technique is similar to that of other chronobiological antidepressant treatments, such as sleep deprivation and phase advance," Dr. Benedetti said. "If these results [are] confirmed in an independent sample, this new strategy is likely to change common clinical practice..."

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