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Open Access Research

Efficacy of vitamin C as an adjunct to fluoxetine therapy in pediatric major depressive disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study

Mostafa Amr1, Ahmed El-Mogy1, Tarek Shams4, Karen Vieira2 and Shaheen E Lakhan23*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

2 Biosciences Department, Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, California, USA

3 Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

4 Department of Intensive Care, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:31  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-31

Published: 9 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Current antidepressants used to treat pediatric patients have the disadvantage of limited efficacy and potentially serious side effects. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of vitamin C as an adjuvant agent in the treatment of pediatric major depressive disorder in a six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial.

Methods

The study group (n=12) was given fluoxetine (10–20 mg/day) plus vitamin C (1000 mg/day) and control group (n=12) administered fluoxetine (10–20 mg/day) plus placebo. The data were analyzed by ANOVA and t-test for independent samples.

Results

Both groups demonstrated significantly improved scores on the Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS), the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI). ANOVA was significantly different on all clinical measurements (group effect, time effect, and interaction), with the exception of group effect and interaction for CGI. Patients treated for six months with fluoxetine and vitamin C showed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms in comparison to the fluoxetine plus placebo group as measured by the CDRS (t=11.36, P<0.0001) and CDI (t=12.27, P<0.0001), but not CGI (t=0.13, P=0.90). No serious adverse effects were observed.

Conclusions

These preliminary results suggest that vitamin C may be an effective adjuvant agent in the treatment of MDD in pediatric patients.