Treatment of recent trauma survivors with benzodiazepines: A prospective study
ABSTRACT Most types of psychotropic drugs have been tried in the treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but have yielded limited results. Theory and retrospective research predict that early treatment may be more efficacious. Specifically, high-potency benzodiazepines have been recommended for the treatment of acute responses to trauma and for prevention of PTSD. This study prospectively evaluates the effect of early administration of benzodiazepines on the course of PTSD and PTSD symptoms.
Thirteen trauma survivors (the benzodiazepine group) were treated within 6.7 +/- 5.8 days after the trauma (range, 2-18) with either clonazepam (N = 10, 2.7 +/- 0.8 mg/day) or alprazolam (N = 3, 2.5 mg/day). Thirteen other trauma survivors, pair-matched with subjects in the active treatment group for gender and symptom severity in the first week after the trauma, constitute the control group. Both groups were reevaluated 1 and 6 months after the trauma for PTSD symptoms (Horowitz Impact of Event Scale; Mississippi Rating Scale for Combat-Related PTSD-civilian trauma version), PTSD status (Clinician Administered PTSD Scale), state anxiety, depression, and resting heart rate.
Subjects in the benzodiazepine group did not differ from controls in 1-month and 6-month PTSD and anxiety scores. Repeated measures ANOVA showed no group or group-by-time effect on psychometric measures. A trend toward group-by-time interaction in resting heart rate was noted (progressive decrease in the benzodiazepine group). Nine benzodiazepine subjects and 3 controls met PTSD diagnostic criteria 6 months after the trauma.
Contrary to expectations, the early administration of benzodiazepines to trauma survivors with high levels of initial distress did not have a salient beneficial effect on the course of their illness, while reducing physiologic expression of arousal.
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ABSTRACT: Pharmacological intervention during traumatic memory consolidation has been suggested to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of this study was to examine the association between prescription of early pharmacotherapy and the risk of developing PTSD symptoms following traumatic injury. The use of opiate analgesics, beta-adrenergic blockers, corticosteroids and benzodiazepines within 48 h postinjury was documented based on hospital charts for 629 Level 1 trauma center patients. PTSD symptoms were assessed using structured clinical interviews. Primary outcome was 6-week PTSD symptoms. Secondary outcomes were PTSD diagnoses at 6 weeks and during 1 year posttrauma. Linear regression analyses showed that opiate administration within 48 h was negatively associated with PTSD symptoms at 6 weeks (β=-0.14, P=.009) after controlling for demographic and injury-related characteristics and concurrent pharmacotherapy. Fewer patients with opiates had a PTSD diagnosis at 6 weeks (P=.047) and during 1 year posttrauma (P=.013) than patients with none of the specified pharmacotherapies. Low prescription frequency of beta-blockers (3.8%), corticosteroids (2.2%) and benzodiazepines (7.8%) precluded further examination of their role in the development of PTSD symptoms because of limited statistical power. This study suggests a possible beneficial influence of opiate administration within 48 h posttrauma on the development of PTSD symptoms. Future studies may evaluate the effectiveness of inhospital opiate analgesics compared to placebo in preventing PTSD and may focus on the mechanisms underlying the effect of opiates in preventing PTSD. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.General Hospital Psychiatry 03/2015; 37(3). DOI:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2015.02.010 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a frequent and disabling condition that occurs after exposure to a traumatic event, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered the first-line treatment approach for this disorder. However, a large proportion of patients remain symptomatic and other pharmacological agents have been investigated, based on the understanding of the underlying biological dysfunctions of PTSD. Methods: We conducted a review of the literature on the pharmacological options for PTSD other than the antidepressants, using MedLine and Web of Science databases, with search terms including the pharmacologic class of each agent plus PTSD, or pharmacotherapy, or fear conditioning. The literature review covered articles published until august 2012, including reviews and original articles. Results: Agents like antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, anti-adrenergic agents, have been studied in randomized clinical trials (RCTs), with general positive results for antipsychotics, especially as adjunct therapy, and for prazosin for sleep-related disturbances. However, one important target for novel medications is the modulation of the fear conditioning process, through the alteration of retrieval/reconsolidation or enhancement of fear extinction. This is traditionally targeted in prolonged exposure therapy, but pre-clinical findings from studies investigating agents like propanolol, clonidine, N-Methyl-D-aspartic Acid Receptor (NMDAR) compounds, 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) and cannabinoids, indicate promising results in affecting the fear conditioning process and thus improving PTSD core symptoms. Discussion: Antipsychotics can be considered a reasonable alternative option to PTSD, with the largest body of evidence for risperidone, even though larger RCTs are warranted. Prazosin is also a promising agent, especially for sleep-related disturbances, while anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines lack empirical support. However, the most promising area for pharmacotherapy in PTSD is the modulation of the fear conditioning process, through agents used in adjunct to exposure therapy.02/2013;
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ABSTRACT: To compare two micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) formulas (Berocca™ and CNE™) and assess their impact on emotions and stress related to the 6.3 earthquake on February 22(nd) 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 91 adults experiencing heightened anxiety or stress 2-3 months following the earthquake were randomized to Berocca™, CNE™ low dose (CNE4), or CNE™ high dose (CNE8), for 28 days and monitored weekly via on-line questionnaires and followed 1 month post-trial. A nonrandomized control group (n = 25) completed questionnaires at baseline and 4 weeks. All treatment groups experienced significant declines in psychological symptoms (p < .001). CNE™ groups experienced greater reduction in intrusive thoughts as compared with Berocca™ (p = .05), with no group differences on other measures of psychological symptoms. However, CNE8 group reported greater improvement in mood, anxiety, and energy (p < .05) with twice as many reporting being "much" to "very much" improved and five times more likely to continue taking CNE™ post-trial than Berocca™ group. Treated participants had better outcomes on most measures over 4 weeks as compared to controls. This study supports micronutrients as an inexpensive and practical treatment for acute stress following a natural disaster with a slight advantage to higher doses ACTRN 12611000460909. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental 09/2012; 27(5):440-54. DOI:10.1002/hup.2246 · 1.85 Impact Factor