Review: A psychopharmacological treatment algorithm for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Journal of Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.81). 11/2008; 24(1):3-26. DOI: 10.1177/0269881108096505
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is defined as excessive and uncontrollable worry and anxiety about everyday life situations. It is a chronic disorder, and is associated with substantial somatisation, high rates of comorbid depression and other anxiety disorders, and significant disability. The evidence base for pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy has continued to grow, and a wide range of drug choices for GAD now exists. Current guidelines for GAD generally restrict themselves to presentation of the evidence for various treatments, which, as a result, generally do not offer detailed discussion or recommendation of strategies beyond the first level of treatment, or take into account the individual circumstances of the patient. Thus, there is a lack of algorithm-based treatment guidelines for GAD. Our aim is, therefore, to present an algorithm for the psychopharmacologic management of GAD, intended for all clinicians who treat patients with GAD, where issues of pharmacotherapy are under consideration. We also hope that these GAD algorithms and other guidelines can help to identify high-priority areas that need further study. In this algorithm, we provide a sequenced approach to the pharmacotherapy of GAD, taking into account salient symptomatology and comorbidity, levels of evidence and extent of response. Special issues, including comorbidity, insomnia, suicidality, substance abuse, treatment adherence, pregnancy and lactation, cross-cultural issues, use of medication in the elderly, psychosocial treatment and dosing issues are also addressed.

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