Background: The negative symptoms of schizophrenia remain a major clinical
trouble against psychiatric rehabilitation and available therapeutic treatments.
Objective: Escitalopram is known as the most selective SSRI with minimal effects on
norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal uptake. The aim of the present study is to assess
the effect of escitalopram on negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Methods: This study was an eight-week, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of escitalopram
set against placebo, as an add-on medication, in the treatment of 50 patients with a
diagnosis of schizophrenia. While the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms was
used as the primary outcome measure, the Scale for Assessment of Positive Symptoms, the
Simpson-Angus Scale and the Hamilton Depression Scale, as well, were used as a secondary
measure for evaluation of positive, extrapyramidal and depressive symptoms, respectively.
Results: The primary outcome of the present assessment was a significant reduction in the
mean total score of the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) in the target
group, compared to placebo, at the end of eight weeks. In this regard, most of the subscales
of SANS, as well, demonstrated significant improvements by escitalopram.
Conclusion: According to the findings, escitalopram can be helpful, as add-on medication,
in amelioration of negative symptoms of schizophrenia.