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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.
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