Abstract: The primary objective of this study was to examine the short-term effects of escitalopram on symptoms of night eating syndrome (NES) in a randomized controlled clinical trial. A total of 40 patients with NES were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with escitalopram 20 mg (n = 20) or placebo (n = 20) for 12 weeks. Escitalopram was started at 10 mg/d with a dosage increase to 20 mg/d after 4 weeks; placebo dosing was identical. The primary end point was a mean change in total score of the Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ). At 12 weeks, mean (SE) change in NEQ total score was −13.0 (1.6) and −10.6 (2.2) in the escitalopram and placebo groups, respectively (F1,37 = 2.5, P = 0.124). There was a marginal interaction effect between response to escitalopram and race (F1,34 = 4.0, P = 0.052), with a favorable effect for white patients (F1,20 = 6.0, P = 0.024) but not for black patients (F1,13 = 0.6, P = 0.453). Seven patients in the escitalopram group, compared with 6 patients in the placebo group, showed a 50% NEQ score reduction (P = 0.736). Sixteen patients in the escitalopram group and 12 patients in the placebo group no longer met NES criteria (P = 0.168). Twelve patients in the escitalopram group were classified as responders according to the Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale compared with 7 patients in the placebo group (P = 0.113). No significant between-group differences were found for weight, mood ratings, or adverse events. We conclude that escitalopram treatment for 12 weeks was not superior to placebo in reducing NES symptoms as measured by the NEQ.