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Objective: This is the first trial examining duloxetine for generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD) and the effect of increased dose for those without early remission.
Methods: Individuals (n=39) with GSAD received 6 weeks of open-label duloxetine 60 mg/day; those with a Liebowitz Social Anxiety Disorder Scale (LSAS) score >30 at week 6 were randomized in double-blind fashion to an additional 18 weeks of continued duloxetine 60 mg/day or to duloxetine 120 mg/day.
Results: Duloxetine was associated with a significant LSAS reduction at week 6 (91.3 [17.7] to 69.8 [28.5], paired t [df]=5.2 , P<.0001), and randomized participants overall continued to improve at week 24 (74.6 [23.9] to 60.3 [29.7]; paired t [df]=3.3 , P=.0026). Though the increased dose strategy was associated with a moderate effect size (Cohen's d=.57), there was no significant difference at week 24 endpoint in LSAS reduction (20.5 [26.0] versus 7.3 [17.2], t [df]=1.6 , P=.13) nor remission (33% versus 8%) for duloxetine with dose increased to 120 mg/day compared to duloxetine continued at 60 mg/day. Overall, 44% (17/39) discontinued prior to week 24.
Conclusions: Though with limited power, these data provide preliminary support for the efficacy of duloxetine for GSAD, and suggest continued improvement but limited remission overall at 24 weeks for individuals remaining symptomatic at week 6. These observations warrant further controlled study.
Individuals with anxiety disorders often remain symptomatic despite treatment with a first-line pharmacologic agent. More research examining pharmacotherapy augmentation strategies to improve outcomes is needed.
In an 8-week, open-label, prospective augmentation study, we examined the efficacy and tolerability of the novel antipsychotic agent aripiprazole for adult outpatients with generalized anxiety disorder (n=13) or panic disorder (n=10) who remained symptomatic despite treatment for at least 8 weeks with an adequate (or maximally tolerated) dose of typical pharmacotherapy.
Aripiprazole augmentation was associated with a significant reduction in Clinical Global Impressions-Severity scores (paired t=4.41, df=22, P<.001) in the intent-to-treat sample of 23 individuals. Three subjects (13%) discontinued due to sedation, chest discomfort, and restlessness, respectively.
These data provide preliminary evidence that aripiprazole may be a useful augmentation strategy for individuals with generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder who show a limited response to initial pharmacotherapy.
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