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An Open-Label Trial of Venlafaxine in Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  • Andrea Allen, Sallie Jo Hadley, Alicia Kaplan, Daphne Simeon, Jennifer Friedberg, Lauren Priday, Bryann R. Baker, Jennifer L. Greenberg and Eric Hollander...



Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a preoccupation with imagined ugliness, is a disabling condition that seems to respond preferentially to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This open-label trial examines venlafaxine's efficacy in BDD and is the first known study of this serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor in BDD.


A total of 17 BDD patients 16–65 years of age entered and 11 completed a 12–16 week open-label trial of venlafaxine. Participants were treated with venlafaxine until a therapeutic dose (minimum of 150 mg/day) was reached and then maintained at that dose for 8 weeks. Key outcome measures were the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Modified for Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale.


Venlafaxine was found to be effective in lessening the specific symptoms and global severity of BDD. Paired t-tests were used to compare baseline and final ratings on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Modified for Body Dysmorphic Disorder total, obsessions, and compulsions scores; by this measure venlafaxine significantly reduced BDD symptoms overall (P=.012), as well as obsessions (P=.034) and compulsions specifically (P=.021). A single sample t-test, comparing final Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale ratings to “no change” (score: 4) found significant improvement following treatment.


Venlafaxine may be an effective treatment for BDD, including both obsessive and compulsive symptoms. Controlled research on venlafaxine in BDD is recommended.


Corresponding author

Please direct all correspondence to: Andrea Allen, PhD, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029-6574; Tel: 212-241-3176, Fax: 212-987-4031; E-mail:


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