An emerging role for escitalopram in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Dawson W. Hedges, Fu Lye M Woon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common and severe neuropsychiatric disorder treated by both behavioral and pharmacologic techniques. Despite the availability of treatments for OCD, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), many OCD patients have an inadequate response to current treatments. As such, additional approaches to the management of OCD are required. A potential but little studied treatment for OCD is the SSRI escitalopram. Escitalopram is the S-enantiomer of citalopram, the preparation containing both S and R enantiomers of citalopram. Not only is escitalopram the most selective of the SSRIs, it is also devoid of R-citalopram, which may interfere with the effects of the S enantiomer. Escitalopram appears to be effective in depression and several anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, conditions in which it also appears reasonably well tolerated. Enantiomeric specificity, high serotonin reuptake selectivity, comparatively good tolerability and favorable pharmacokinetics, and preliminary evidence of efficacy in OCD suggest a potential role for the use of escitalopram in the treatment of OCD. Nevertheless, additional work including evaluating the use of escitalopram with behavioral interventions and in long-term treatment of OCD is needed to clarify its overall role in managing OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 6 2007


  • Escitalopram
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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