Denmark’s Lundbeck says that the European Union has approved its flagship antidepressant Cipralex for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The drug got the go-ahead for OCD from the Swedish Medical Products Agency, which was acting as the reference member state for the EU. The approval is based on a 24-week study involving more than 750 patients, which demonstrated that 10mg and 20mg of Cipralex (escitalopram) is an effective and well-tolerated drug in the treatment of the condition with the added benefit of significantly reducing the risk of relapse in patients.

Anders Gersel Pedersen, head of development at Lundbeck, noted that with the approval for the treatment of OCD, Cipralex is now approved for the treatment of all major anxiety indications and depression." The drug, which is sold in the USA as Lexapro by Forest Laboratories, is comfortably the firm’s biggest earner, with third-quarter 2006 sales of Cipralex rising 23% to 686 million Danish crowns, or almost £61 million.