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An open-label trial of escitalopram in pervasive developmental disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago MC 3077, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. towley@yoda.bsd.uchicago.edu



To assess the effect of escitalopram in the treatment of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).


This 10-week study had a forced titration, open-label design. Twenty-eight subjects (mean age 125.1 +/- 33.5 months) with a PDD received escitalopram at a dose that increased weekly to a maximum dose of 20 mg as tolerated. The Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community Version (ABC-CV) and the Clinical Global Impression scale (CGI) were used to assess outcome.


There was significant improvement in ABC-CV Irritability Subscale Scores (baseline mean 20.5 +/- 5.9 to final mean 10.9 +/- 7.2; p < or = .001) and in the other ABC-CV Subscales. Improvement on Clinical Global Improvement Scale severity rating was also significant (baseline mean 5.2 +/- 1.0 to final mean 4.6 +/- 1.2; p < or = .001). Twenty-five percent of the subjects responded at a dose less than 10 mg and did not tolerate the 10-mg dose, and an additional 36% responded at a dose greater than or equal to 10 mg. Final dose was unrelated to weight and only weakly correlated with age.


This open-label study found escitalopram to be useful in treating some difficulties common in PDDs. A wide variability in dose was found that could not be accounted for by weight and only partially by age. The study provides information useful for the design of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of escitalopram in PDDs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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