A post hoc comparison of paroxetine and nortriptyline for symptoms of traumatic grief.
ABSTRACT This report presents the results of an open-trial pilot study of paroxetine for symptoms of traumatic grief, compared with the effects of nortriptyline in an archival contrast group.
Data are presented on 15 subjects (4 men, 11 women), ranging in age from 40 to 79 years (mean age = 57 years), who experienced the loss of a spouse (N = 8), child (N =5), grandchild (N = 1), or parent (N = 1). Subjects were required to have a baseline score on the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG) of > or = 20. Treatment with paroxetine began at a median of 17 months (range, 6-139 months) after the loss. Paroxetine-treated subjects received a psychotherapy tailored for traumatic grief. Depressive symptoms were assessed by using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). The ICG and the HAM-D were administered weekly over 4 months of paroxetine treatment (median dose = 30 mg/day). The group receiving paroxetine were then compared with a group (N = 22) participating in a separate trial of nortriptyline (median dose = 77.5 mg/day) for treatment of bereavement-related major depressive episodes.
Level of traumatic grief symptoms (ICG) decreased by 53%, and depression ratings (HAM-D) decreased by 54% in paroxetine-treated subjects. Nortriptyline showed clinical effects comparable to those of paroxetine.
Paroxetine may be an effective agent in the treatment of traumatic grief symptoms. A comparison of the paroxetine-treated group with a nortriptyline-treated group suggests that both agents have comparably beneficial effects on the symptoms of traumatic grief (as well as those of depression). However, the higher rate of diagnostic comorbidity in the paroxetine-treated group, together with the greater chronicity of their symptoms and the greater safety of paroxetine in overdose, leads us to favor paroxetine over nortriptyline for traumatic grief symptoms in general psychiatric practice. Further controlled evaluation of paroxetine for traumatic grief is necessary.
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ABSTRACT: There is little evidence to guide the use of psychotropic medications immediately following bereavement. This article presents a review of the relevant literature, followed by a case series on the use of psychotropic medication in traumatically bereaved individuals. Of 20 active subjects, nine had been prescribed psychotropic medication in the days and weeks following a traumatic loss. The amount, type, and timing of medication in this sample is explored and compared to the extant literature. Results suggest that clinical practice may not be guided by empirical research in this area.Journal of Loss and Trauma 11/2012; DOI:10.1080/15325024.2012.688699 · 1.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Complicated grief (CG) is a debilitating syndrome that can be reliably identified, but there is a paucity of research examining treatment of CG. A targeted psychotherapy for complicated grief (CGT) was recently shown to be efficacious [Shear, K., Frank, E., Houck, P.R., Reynolds, C.F., 3rd, 2005. Treatment of complicated grief: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 293, 2601-2608]. We provide a detailed examination of the association of naturalistic pharmacotherapy use with treatment response and study completion in the psychotherapy study. Patients on an antidepressant medication were more likely to complete a full course of CGT (91% vs. 58% completed), while antidepressant use had no effect on completion rates for the comparator, interpersonal psychotherapy (70% vs. 77%). Our naturalistic data underscore the need for prospective, randomized controlled studies of CG pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy alone and in combination.Psychiatry Research 06/2008; 159(1-2):31-6. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2007.05.011 · 2.68 Impact Factor