Emerging roles for atypical antipsychotics in chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

Department of Psychiatry, Ralph H Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29401, USA.
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics (Impact Factor: 2.83). 04/2005; 5(2):267-75. DOI: 10.1586/14737175.5.2.267
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that may occur after the individual is exposed to severe psychologic trauma such as combat, sexual assault, or childhood physical or sexual abuse. Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder may result in considerable psychologic pain and suffering for the individual in addition to significant functional impairment. In addition to the heterogeneity of symptoms that occur in post-traumatic stress disorder, there may also be extensive comorbidity with other anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and other psychiatric disorders. This complicates the treatment picture. Currently, accepted treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder include psychotherapy, in particular cognitive behavioral-based approaches and antidepressant medication. However, many patients are refractory to these initial treatments or have only a partial response. In light of this, may clinicians combine additional classes of psychotropic agents and different psychotherapeutic approaches to enhance treatment response. This article reviews the literature on the use of atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of the research to date has involved combat veterans partially responsive or refractory to treatment, namely with antidepressants. Studies have shown improvement across post-traumatic stress disorder symptom clusters, as well as improvement in comorbid psychotic symptoms or disorders. More research is needed to confirm these recent findings and further delineate the role of atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Currently, possible indications for their use include treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder with comorbid psychotic features.

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    ABSTRACT: PTSD is an anxiety disorder related to exposure to a severe psychological trauma. Symptoms include re-experiencing the event, avoidance and arousal as well as distress and impairment resulting from these symptoms.Guidelines suggest a combination of both psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy may enhance treatment response, especially in those with more severe PTSD or in those who have not responded to either intervention alone. To assess whether the combination of psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy provides a more efficacious treatment for PTSD than either of these interventions delivered separately. Searches were conducted on the trial registers kept by the CCDAN group (CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References) to June 2010. The reference sections of included studies and several conference abstracts were also scanned. Patients of any age or gender, with chronic or recent onset PTSD arising from any type of event relevant to the diagnostic criteria were included. A combination of any psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy was included and compared to wait list, placebo, standard treatment or either intervention alone. The primary outcome was change in total PTSD symptom severity. Other outcomes included changes in functioning, depression and anxiety symptoms, suicide attempts, substance use, withdrawal and cost. Two or three review authors independently selected trials, assessed their 'risk of bias' and extracted trial and outcome data. We used a fixed-effect model for meta-analysis. The relative risk was used to summarise dichotomous outcomes and the mean difference and standardised mean difference were used to summarise continuous measures. Four trials were eligible for inclusion, one of these trials (n =24) was on children and adolescents. All used an SSRI and prolonged exposure or a cognitive behavioural intervention. Two trials compared combination treatment with pharmacological treatment and two compared combination treatment with psychological treatment. Only two trials reported a total PTSD symptom score and these data could not be combined. There was no strong evidence to show if there were differences between the group receiving combined interventions compared to the group receiving psychological therapy (mean difference 2.44, 95% CI -2.87, 7.35 one study, n=65) or pharmacotherapy (mean difference -4.70, 95% CI -10.84 to 1.44; one study, n = 25). Trialists reported no significant differences between combination and single intervention groups in the other two studies. There were very little data reported for other outcomes, and in no case were significant differences reported. There is not enough evidence available to support or refute the effectiveness of combined psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy compared to either of these interventions alone. Further large randomised controlled trials are urgently required.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2010; DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD007316.pub2 · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background As some evidences demonstrated that atypical antipsychotics (AA) may be efficacious in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we preformed a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) of AAs for the treatment of PTSD. Methods 251 articles were searched and screened. Eight RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Results AAs may be superior to placebo in the treatment of PTSD, as indicated by the changes in Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) total scores (weighted mean differences (WMD)=-5.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-9.21, −2.56], P=0.0005) and also in CAPS subscale intrusion (WMD=-2.58, 95% CI[-3.83, -1.33], P<0.0001 ) and subscale hyperarousal (WMD=−2.94, 95% CI[−5.45, -0.43], P=0.02). The acceptability measured by dropout rates between AAs and placebo showed no statistical difference (OR=1.24, 95%CI [0.78, 1.97], P=0.36). Conclusion TSD symptom cluster, especially in intrusion and hyperarousal. However, we should be careful to generalize the conclusion because of the small number of included trails. We expect more RCTs will be done in the future so as to clarify the specific value of AAs for PTSD.
    Psychiatry Research 11/2014; 219(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.05.027 · 2.68 Impact Factor