Antidepressant May Help Compulsive Shoppers

Just in time for the holiday season, a corporate-funded study says an antidepressant can help compulsive shoppers.

People with the disorder who took the drug — a member of the newest class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — showed marked improvement in their condition, said Dr. Kim Bullock and colleagues at Stanford University in California.

They tested 21 patients, who took the drug citalopram, made by Forest Laboratories Inc. under the name Celexa, for three months.

A Preoccupation With Purchasing

“Compulsive shopping [or compulsive buying] is a disorder characterized by a preoccupation with purchasing unneeded items that causes marked distress, social or occupational impairment and/or financial problems,” the researchers said in a statement.

It affects between 2 percent and 8 percent of the U.S. population, they said. Most people suffering from the disorder are women.

“Citalopram produced marked improvements on both the Yale/Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Shopping Version and the Clinical Global Impressions of Improvement scale,” the researchers wrote.

They said 80 percent of the patients improved.

The drug is sold in 70 countries under several trade names including Celexa, Cipramil and Seropram. Forest Laboratories funded the study.