Current evidence suggests that polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) predicts antidepressant efficacy in whites but less so in Asians. However, it is not clear whether this effect can be observed for specific types of antidepressant drugs. White (n = 47) and Korean (n = 118) participants with major depressive disorder were treated with escitalopram and assessed over 8 weeks. Among those with the l/l but not l/s or s/s genotypes, whites had greater depression score reductions, response rates, and remission rates compared with Koreans. Our results suggest that 5-HTTLPR predicts escitalopram efficacy in an ethnicity-dependent manner.
From the *Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Parkville; †Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne; ‡Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, Parkville; and §Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; ∥Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul; and ¶Department of Medical Bioscience, Graduate School, Soonchunhyang University, Bucheon, Republic of Korea; #School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia; **Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Cheonan City, Republic of Korea; and ††Department of Pharmacology, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Received December 2, 2013; accepted after revision March 19, 2014.
Reprints: Chad A. Bousman, MPH, PhD, Level 3, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, 161 Barry Street, Carlton South, Australia (e-mail: email@example.com).
This investigator-initiated study was partly supported by an unrestricted research grant from H. Lundbeck A/S (at the site in Australia) and Changi General Hospital (at the site in Singapore). Courier of samples to Australia was facilitated by Quest Laboratories Pte Ltd. Escitalopram was sourced from H Lundbeck A/S.