The current data suggest that up to 50% of patients with schizophrenia have obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms coexisting with psychosis and between 7.8 and 46% of schizophrenia patients also have full-blown obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of the most selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram in the management of OCD in schizophrenia patients. The study was an open-label prospective trial of 12 weeks’ duration in which escitalopram at a dose of up to 20 mg/day was added to the existing antipsychotic drug regimen in schizophrenia patients with OCD. Fifteen patients (10 men/five women) with the diagnosis of schizophrenia and OCD were recruited for the study (mean age: 39±14, range 21–61 years) and received escitalopram according to the study design. A significant improvement was observed in the total Yale Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) scores and in the scores of both the Y-BOCS-Obsession and the Y-BOCS-Compulsion subscale at the end point. In addition, a significant improvement was observed in the total scores of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and particularly in scores of anxiety, tension, depression, and preoccupation items. No adverse effects of escitalopram were reported by patients during the trial. In our prospective 12-week open-label study, escitalopram 20 mg/day was well tolerated and improved OC symptoms in schizophrenia patients. Our preliminary results are encouraging and a double-blind randomized study is required to confirm our results.
aBeer Yaakov-Ness Ziona Mental Health Center, Beer Yaakov
bGeha Mental Health Center, Petah Tikva
cDepartment of Psychiatry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Correspondence to Rafeal Stryjer, Beer Yaakov-Ness Ziona Mental Health Center, PO Box 1, 74100 Ness Ziona, Israel Tel: +972 528612945; fax: +972 8 9284183; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received December 11, 2011
Accepted October 23, 2012