The Effect of Escitalopram on Mood and Cognition in Depressive Alzheimer's Disease Subjects

Hoyoung An, Booyeol Choi, Kun Woo Park, Do Hoon Kim, Dong Won Yang, Chang Hyung Hong, Seong Yoon Kim, Seol Heui Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Effective treatments to alleviate depression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been scarce. Objective: To investigate the efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram in the treatment of depression in AD. Methods: In this 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with open-label, 12-week extension, AD subjects over 50 years of age, with depression defined by Olin's provisional diagnostic criteria, were enrolled. The Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), and other measures of depression and cognition were repeated. Results: 91 subjects were screened, and 84 were randomized into either the study group or placebo group (n = 42 for both groups). Twenty-four subjects (29) were unable to finish the study, yielding a per protocol population of 60 subjects (study group: n = 27; placebo group: n = 33). At week 12, differences in measures of depression and cognition between the two groups were not statistically significant. However, exploratory analysis suggested that further research on a subset of subjects with 'definite major depression' (baseline CSDD score ≥18) is needed. The number of treatment-related adverse-events (AE) did not differ between groups (p = 0.83) and no serious treatment-related AE were observed. Conclusion: The use of escitalopram was well tolerated in depressive dementia patients. Future studies focusing on subjects with more severe levels of depression, and with more statistical power, will be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-735
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • clinical trial
  • depression
  • escitalopram
  • placebo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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