Pharmacological treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

University of the Sciences, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice/Pharmacy Administration, PA, USA.
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 2.86). 09/2011; 12(16):2457-67. DOI: 10.1517/14656566.2011.618496
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic, relapsing, debilitating disorder, associated with markedly impaired social and occupational functioning. Pharmacological treatment is considered standard care and several drug classes are now FDA approved for the treatment of GAD. While there are clear data for the efficacy of short-term acute treatment, long-term treatment and treatment-resistant GAD remain challenging. AREAS COVERED: This article describes current pharmacological treatment options for GAD, with focus on benzodiazepines, azapirones, antidepressants and anticonvulsant and antipsychotic drugs. Recent findings from placebo-controlled clinical trials are reviewed and evidence-based clinical implications are discussed. A PubMed search was completed using the terms: 'generalized anxiety disorder AND treatment' and 'generalized anxiety disorder AND therapy'. Additional pivotal trials were included for a historical perspective (older landmark trials that established efficacy and safety for older drug classes in the treatment of GAD). EXPERT OPINION: Efficacy for treatment of GAD has been established for several different drug classes. At present, based on clear efficacy and good tolerability, first-line treatment with either a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) is indicated. If an initial, at least moderate, clinical response is achieved under antidepressant therapy, treatment should be at least continued for 12 months.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence-based treatment approaches for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) comprise psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of the two. First-line pharmacotherapy agents include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and, in certain European guidelines, pregabalin, which gained European Commission approval. Although short- and long-term efficacy have been established for these agents in controlled trials, response rates of 60-70 % are insufficient, remission rates are relatively modest, and relapse rates considerable. Moreover, questions increasingly arise regarding tolerability and side-effect profiles. As an alternative, antipsychotics have long been of interest for the treatment of anxiety disorders, but investigation had been tempered by their potential for irreversible side effects. With the improved side-effect profiles of atypical antipsychotics, these agents are increasingly being investigated across Axis I disorders. Atypical antipsychotics such as quetiapine, aripiprazole, olanzapine, and risperidone have been shown to be helpful in addressing a range of anxiety and depressive symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, and have since been used in the treatment of a range of mood and anxiety disorders. In this article, we review the efficacy and tolerability of atypical antipsychotics as adjunctive therapy and/or monotherapy for individuals with GAD, a currently off-label indication. The most evidence has accumulated for quetiapine. Findings suggest that approximately 50 % of participants tolerate the side effects, most commonly sedation and fatigue. Among this subset, those who continue treatment demonstrate significant reductions in anxiety when used as adjunctive therapy or monotherapy. The appropriateness of the use of antipsychotics in the treatment of GAD is discussed.
    CNS Drugs 05/2014; · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Primary care providers (PCPs) are frequently responsible for the pharmacologic management of mood disorders, and the PCP is often an important member of the clinical team in the management of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Not only is a good understanding of psychopharmacology important for the effective treatment of psychiatric disease, it is also necessary for patient safety. Clinicians should understand the side effects and the medication interactions associated with psychotropic medications. This article reviews mechanisms of action, indications, dosing, side effects, medication interactions, and general management considerations for common medications used to treat psychiatric conditions encountered in the primary care setting.
    Medical Clinics of North America 09/2014; 98(5):927–958. · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric condition presenting to primary care practitioners. Yet they can be easily overlooked or misdiagnosed. Patients that struggle with anxiety disorders are more likely to seek treatment from primary care providers than mental health specialists. Given the costs in terms of debilitation and associated financial burden, and increased risk of suicide, the identification and successful treatment of anxiety is imperative. By means of clinical acumen and the use of screening tools, the provider can develop expertise in recognition and effective treatment of anxiety disorders.
    Medical Clinics of North America 09/2014; · 2.80 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Oct 17, 2014