Absence of neuropsychologic deficits in patients receiving long-term treatment with alprazolam-XR for panic disorder.
ABSTRACT Studies to date on the effects of benzodiazepines on neuropsychologic function have yielded conflicting data with respect to the type, severity, and duration of deficits that may be induced by these agents. As part of a placebo-controlled trial of alprazolam-XR (extended release) administered in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy in patients with panic disorder, a battery of tests was used to measure neuropsychologic function. Thirty-eight outpatients were randomly assigned to receive either alprazolam-XR or placebo. Dosages were titrated up so that the alprazolam group (N = 18) received a mean dose of 4 mg/day (reduced in two patients because of sedative side effects). Neuropsychologic function after 6 weeks of therapy at the target dosage was compared with baseline assessments in each group. Both groups showed a statistically significant improvement from baseline to repeated assessments on measures of attention, executive functioning, psychomotor speed, and visual memory (p < 0.001); these gains were attributed to a practice effect. No significant changes were noted in measures of learning, verbal memory, or reaction time, and neither group showed any deterioration from baseline to retesting in any aspect of neuropsychologic function. These findings call into question the assumption that long-term benzodiazepine therapy produces significant neuropsychologic deficit in patients with diagnosed anxiety disorders.
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ABSTRACT: In order to examine the benefit of adding pharmacotherapy to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders, we searched for studies comparing CBT plus pharmacotherapy and CBT plus pill placebo for adults meeting DSM-III-R or DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder between the 1st available year and July 1, 2008. Of 874 studies that were initially considered, 11 studies were identified, representing 471 patients with post-acute completer data and 236 participants with follow-up completer data. CBT plus pharmacotherapy was generally more effective than CBT plus placebo at post-treatment for measures of anxiety disorder severity (Hedges' g = 0.59, 95% confidence interval: 0.29-0.90) and treatment response (OR: 1.95, 95% confidence interval: 1.25-3.03), but not at 6-month follow-up. Despite the relatively small number of studies, the fail-safe N suggested that the results are reliable. The largest effect sizes at post-treatment were found for panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. No differences were observed between self-report and clinician-administered measures. The reported effect sizes linearly decreased with publication year. In sum, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that adding pharmacotherapy to CBT is a useful short-term treatment strategy at least for some of the anxiety disorders.International Journal of Cognitive Therapy 02/2009; 2(2):160-175. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In laboratory studies with nonanxious participants, benzodiazepines (BZ) reliably induce anterograde amnesia. It remains unclear whether memory impairments exist for information presented in therapy among anxiety patients who are concomitantly taking BZs. This naturalistic study compared 16 panic disorder patients who were daily BZ users with 16 age- and education-matched, nonmedicated panic disorder patients. An incidental memory task assessed memory for psychoeducation material on the origins and management of somatic anxiety symptoms presented during group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). BZ users showed significantly poorer memory performance than controls although there were no group differences in anxiety symptoms, rates of psychiatric comorbidity, or sedation. Among BZ users, a higher number of minutes away from post peak drug-blood concentration when encoding began, was also associated with better incidental memory performance. Although causation cannot be inferred from this naturalistic study, the memory impairments observed among BZ users may contribute to the poorer efficacy of CBT previously documented in panic disorder patients receiving adjunctive BZs.Cognitive Therapy and Research 01/2004; 28(2):193-208. · 1.70 Impact Factor
- Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien 11/2010; 56(11):1097, 1099. · 1.19 Impact Factor