The purpose of this double-blind, multicenter trial was to compare the efficacy and safety of sertraline (50–150 ing/day) with those of citalopram (20–60 mg/day) in patients with major depression in general practice during 24 weeks of treatment. The patients were assessed using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale and the Clinical Global Impressions of severity and improvement scales. Observed and spontaneously reported adverse events were recorded and side-effects were assessed by means of the UKU Side-Effect Scale. Altogether 400 patients were randomized into the study. A total of 308 patients completed the 24-week study in accordance with the protocol. A significant reduction in the total Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores was observed in both treatment groups as early as 2 weeks, with no statistically significant differences between the drugs. In the intention to treat-lust observation carried forward analysis 76% responded to treatment in the sertraline and 81% in the citalopram group. The final mean doses were 82 mg/day (64% higher than baseline) in the sertraline group and 34 mg/day (70% higher than baseline) in the citalopram group. The response rate in completers in accordance with protocol was 90% in the sertraline group and 93% in the citalopram group. The side-effects were those usually seen, and both sertraline and citalopram were considered to be well tolerated. It was concluded that patients with major depression in general practice respond well to 24 weeks of treatment with sertraline or citalopram. With regard to efficacy, no statistically significant differences were found between the drugs.