Francisco Pedrosa Gil

Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich, München, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (31)81.41 Total impact

  • Neurology Psychiatry and Brain Research 03/2012; 18(2):86. · 0.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to investigate facial emotion recognition in patients with somatoform disorders (SFD). Also of interest was the extent to which concurrent alexithymia contributed to any changes in emotion recognition accuracy. Twenty patients with SFD and twenty healthy, age, sex and education matched, controls were assessed with the Facially Expressed Emotion Labelling Test of facial emotion recognition and the 26-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26). Patients with SFD exhibited elevated alexithymia symptoms relative to healthy controls. Patients with SFD also recognized significantly fewer emotional expressions than did the healthy controls. However, the group difference in emotion recognition accuracy became nonsignificant once the influence of alexithymia was controlled for statistically. This suggests that the deficit in facial emotion recognition observed in the patients with SFD was most likely a consequence of concurrent alexithymia. Impaired facial emotion recognition observed in the patients with SFD could plausibly have a negative influence on these individuals' social functioning.
    Depression and Anxiety 12/2008; 26(1):E26-33. · 4.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate cortisol levels as a function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) in relation to alexithymia in patients with somatoform disorders (SFD). Diurnal salivary cortisol was sampled in 32 patients with SFD who also underwent a psychiatric examination and filled in questionnaires (Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS scale; Screening for Somatoform Symptoms, SOMS scale; Hamilton Depression Scale, HAMD). The mean TAS total score in the sample was 55.6+/-9.6, 32% of patients being classified as alexithymic on the basis of their TAS scores. Depression scores were moderate (HAMD=13.2, Beck Depression Inventory, BDI=16.5). The patients' alexithymia scores (TAS scale "Difficulty identifying feelings") correlated significantly positively with their somatization scale scores (Symptom Checklist-90 Revised, SCL-90-R); r=0.3438 (P<0.05) and their scores on the Global Severity Index (GSI) on the SCL-90-R; r=0.781 (P<0.01). Regression analysis was performed with cortisol variables as the dependent variables. Cortisol levels [measured by the area under the curve-ground (AUC-G), area under the curve-increase (AUC-I) and morning cortisol (MCS)] were best predicted in a multiple linear regression model by lower depressive scores (HAMD) and more psychopathological symptoms (SCL-90-R). No significant correlations were found between the patients' alexithymia scores (TAS) and cortisol levels. The healthy control group (n=25) demonstrated significantly higher cortisol levels than did the patients with SFD; in both tests P<0.001 for AUC-G and AUC-I. However, the two groups did not differ in terms of their mean morning cortisol levels (P>0.05). The results suggest that pre-existing hypocortisolism might possibly be associated with SFD.
    Nordic journal of psychiatry 09/2008; 62(5):366-73. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this multicentre study on multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) 291 consecutive environmental medicine (EM) outpatients were examined in several environmental medicine outpatient centres/units throughout Germany in 2000/2003. Of the EM outpatients, 89 were male (30.6%) and 202 were female (69.4%), aged 22-80 (mean 48 years, S.D.=12 years). The sample was representative for university-based environmental outpatient departments and represented a cross-sectional study design with an integrated clinical-based case-control comparison (MCS vs. non-MCS). Three classifications of MCS were used: self-reported MCS (sMCS), clinically diagnosed MCS (cMCS), and formalised computer-assisted MCS with two variants (f1MCS, f2MCS). Data were collected by means of an environmental medicine questionnaire, psychosocial questionnaires, the German version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), and a medical baseline documentation, as well as special examinations in partial projects on olfaction and genetic susceptibility markers. The hypothesis guided evaluation of the project showed that the patients' heterogenic health complaints did not indicate a characteristic set of symptoms for MCS. No systematic connection could be observed between complaints and the triggers implicated, nor was there any evidence for a genetic predisposition, or obvious disturbances of the olfactory system. The standardised psychiatric diagnostics applying CIDI demonstrated that the EM patients in general and the subgroup with MCS in particular suffered more often from mental disorders compared to an age and gender matched sample of the general population and that in most patients these disorders commenced many years before environment-related health complaints. Our results do not support the assumption of a toxicogenic-somatic basis of the MCS phenomenon. In contrast, numerous indicators for the relevance of behavioural accentuations, psychic alterations or psychosomatic impairments were found in the group of EM-outpatients with subjective "environmental illness".
    International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 06/2008; 211(5-6):658-81. · 3.05 Impact Factor
  • P Leiberich, M K Nickel, K Tritt, F Pedrosa Gil
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    ABSTRACT: Borderline patients often display pathological aggression. We previously tested lamotrigine, an anti-convulsant, in therapy for aggression in women with borderline personality disorder (BPD) (J Psychopharmacol 2005; 19: 287-291), and found significant changes on most scales of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI) after eight weeks. To assess the longer-term efficacy of lamotrigine in therapy for aggression in women with BPD, this 18-month follow-up observation was carried out, in which patients (treated with lamotrigine: n = 18; former placebo group: n = 9) were tested every six months. According to the intent-to-treat principle, significant changes on all scales of the STAXI were observed in the lamotrigine-treated subjects. All subjects tolerated lamotrigine relatively well. Lamotrigine appears to be an effective and relatively safe agent in the longer-term treatment of aggression in women with BPD.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 03/2008; 22(7):805-8. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the relationship between parental bonding, adult attachment, and alexithymia in patients with Somatoform Disorders (SFD). There are few empirical studies to support the clinical hypothesis that alexithymia may be due to disturbances in the early parent-child relationship. In a cross-sectional study, data from 76 patients with SFD were obtained, consisting of questionnaire measures of alexithymia (TAS scale), attachment style (BFKE), and also the German version of the MOPS (Measure of Parental Style), the FDEB scale for measuring perceived parental attitude. A higher than average prevalence of insecure attachment (n = 67, 88.2%) was found in our sample with SFD and a T-value of 54.3 (9.5) in the TAS total score, 22% reaching clinically significant alexithymia. Regression analyses demonstrated the relationship between the "ambivalent clinging" and "ambivalent withdrawing" attachment style and more marked alexithymia features. Furthermore, alexithymia was positively predicted by "indifference" in the relationship to the father, BDI, and Global severity index (SCL-90-R). The results of this study support the hypothesis that alexithymia is associated with perceived parental bonding and attachment style.
    The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 02/2008; 38(4):437-51. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a cross-sectional study, the authors investigated 40 female patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) for the degree of alexithymia and parental bonding style. Alexithymia was assessed by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-26; parental style by the FDEB (a German version of the Measure of Parental Style). In 15% of patients with FS, clinically significant alexithymia was found. Also, there was a positive association between the alexithymia scores (TAS total score) and "maternal abuse" and higher values in "paternal indifference," which predicted higher scores on "Difficulties identifying feelings" (TAS). The results of this study suggest that parental styles are associated with higher alexithymia scores.
    Psychosomatics 01/2008; 49(2):115-22. · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Previous studies have suggested that somatoform disorders (SFD) might be associated with changes in the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. The aim of this study was to examine the possible immunological differences between SFD and healthy controls.Methods: Twenty-four patients with SFD and 13 healthy individuals completed the psychological questionnaires to assess symptom reporting [Symptom Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90-R)] and to diagnose for SFD [Screening for Somatoform Symptoms scale (SOMS-scale)]. Participants also provided a blood sample taken in the morning, which was analysed with an automated cell counter to determine the number of leucocytes per μl and with flow cytometry to determine lymphocyte subsets.Results: With the exception of a higher T4/T8 ratio in the patient group, which was mainly because of lower CD8 counts, there were no significant differences in the absolute number of lymphocytes (subsets) between patients with SFD and healthy subjects. A positive correlation between B-lymphocyte subsets (CD19+CD22+, CD19+CD5+, CD19+CD3−) to all scales of the SCL-90-R, except somatisation, were found in SFD. Additionally, a positive correlation was found in SFD between CD14+CD16+ monocytes and somatisation (0.573) on the SCL-90-R scale.Conclusion: These data indicate that patients with SFD have an enhanced humoral immunity as shown by increased B-cell numbers and furthermore an elevated T4/T8 ratio because of lower CD8 suppressor cells. Further studies will be required to determine whether these alterations in lymphocyte subsets are directly involved in the pathophysiology of SFD.
    Acta Neuropsychiatrica 08/2007; 19(6):368 - 375. · 0.61 Impact Factor
  • Marius K Nickel, Thomas H Loew, Francisco Pedrosa Gil
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    ABSTRACT: Only one controlled trial is known that employed aripiprazole for patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This 8-week trial found significant changes on most scales of the symptom checklist (SCL-90-R), Hamilton depression rating scale (HDRS), Hamilton anxiety rating scale (HARS), and on all scales of the state-trait anger expression inventory (STAXI). OBJECTIVES, MATERIALS, AND METHODS: To assess the long-term effectiveness of aripiprazole with multifaceted borderline symptomatology, this 18-month follow-up observation with biannual testing was carried out with the same patients from the previous trial (treated with 15-mg aripiprazole daily, n = 26, 21 female and 5 male patients; previous placebo group, n = 26, 22 female and 4 male patients). According to the intent-to-treat principle, significant changes on all scales of the SCL-90-R, HDRS, HARS, and STAXI were observed in the aripiprazole-treated subjects after 18 months. Aripiprazole appears to be an effective and relatively safe agent in the long-term treatment of patients with BPD.
    Psychopharmacology 06/2007; 191(4):1023-6. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to investigate if somatoform disorders (SFD) are associated with changes in the normal serum levels of important interleukins, and further, to establish if these changes are related to the presence and severity of alexithymia in patients with SFD. Twenty-four unmedicated patients who met the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) diagnostic criteria for SFD completed the psychological questionnaire to assess alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale), symptom reporting (SCL-90-R) and diagnostic criteria for SFD (Screening for Somatoform Symptoms scale). Serum concentrations of soluble interleukin 2 receptor alpha (sIL-2 Ralpha), IL-4, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12 were determined in patients with SFD and in 9 healthy subjects. In patients with SFD, serum levels of IL-6 (p < 0.001), IL-10 (p = 0.047) and immunoglobulin E (p = 0.045) were significantly increased in comparison with healthy controls. Additionally, a negative correlation was observed between the level of alexithymia ('total' Toronto Alexithymia Scale score) and the serum levels of sIL-2 Ralpha (r = -0.538) in SFD. Taken together, these results suggest that SFD, with clinically significant alexithymia, are associated with a reduction in Th1-mediated immune function and an increase in the activation of the Th2 immune function, indicated by the augmented serum levels of IL-6 and IL-10 and elevated immunoglobulin E.
    NeuroImmunoModulation 02/2007; 14(5):235-42. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    M Nickel, D Moleda, T Loew, W Rother, F Pedrosa Gil
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    ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of cabergoline in 50 men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction was investigated in a 4-month, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study with validated psychological tests, and prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone serum levels. Cabergoline treatment was well-tolerated and resulted in normalization of hormone levels in most cases. In the cabergoline-treated group, significant interactions between prolactin and testosterone serum concentrations were observed. Erectile function improved significantly. Sexual desire, orgasmic function, and the patient's and his partner's sexual satisfaction were also enhanced. Cabergoline may be an effective and safe alternative agent for men with psychogenic ED.
    International Journal of Impotence Research 01/2007; 19(1):104-7. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine whether bioenergetic exercises (BE) significantly influence the inpatient psychotherapeutic treatment results for Turkish immigrants with chronic somatoform disorders. In a 6-week randomized, prospective, controlled trial, we treated a sample of 128 Turkish patients: 64 were randomly assigned to BE and 64 participated in gymnastic exercises in lieu of BE. The Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) and State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI) were employed. According to the intent-to-treat principle, the bioenergetic analysis group achieved significantly better treatment results on most of the SCL-90-R and STAXI scales. BE appears to improve symptoms of somatization, social insecurity, depressiveness, anxiety, and hostility in the inpatient therapy of subjects with chronic somatoform disorders. Reduction of the anger level and reduction in directing anger inwards, with a simultaneous increase of spontaneous outward emotional expression, could be expected.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 11/2006; 61(4):507-13. · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was carried out to examine sociopsychopathological predictors of prospective observed suicide attempts in bulimic women purging type without comorbid major depression (BNG) at the time of study entry and in woman with major depression without comorbid eating disorder at the time of study entry (MDG). Data from 28 BNG (age 23.5 +/- 3.6) and 126 MDG women (age 33.4 +/- 5.1) who had attempted suicide during 12 months' monitoring were compared. A univariate comparison of the two groups revealed various differences. Analysis of risk factors for suicide attempts using stepwise logistic regression was conducted separately for each group. The derived logistic models showed that patients from the BNG group had a history of higher incidence of sexual abuse in childhood, as well as abuse of laxatives and illicit drugs; they also lacked orientation in life, felt lonely despite family and friends, tended to direct their anger outward, and were unable to relax. Sociopsychopathological risk factors for suicide attempts in the BNG and MDG appear to vary.
    International Journal of Eating Disorders 08/2006; 39(5):410-7. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aripiprazole is a relatively new atypical antipsychotic agent that has been successfully employed in therapy for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders. A few neuroleptics have been used in therapy for patients with borderline personality disorder, which is associated with severe psychopathological symptoms. Aripiprazole, however, has not yet been tested for this disorder, and the goal of this study was to determine whether aripiprazole is effective in the treatment of several domains of symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Subjects meeting criteria for the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders for borderline personality disorder (43 women and 9 men) were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to 15 mg/day of aripiprazole (N=26) or placebo (N=26) for 8 weeks. Primary outcome measures were changes in scores on the symptom checklist (SCL-90-R), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory and were assessed weekly. Side effects and self-injury were assessed with a nonvalidated questionnaire. According to the intent-to-treat principle, significant changes in scores on most scales of the SCL-90-R, the HAM-D, the HAM-A, and all scales of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory were observed in the subjects treated with aripiprazole after 8 weeks. Self-injury occurred in the groups. The reported side effects were headache, insomnia, nausea, numbness, constipation, and anxiety. Aripiprazole appears to be a safe and effective agent in the treatment of patients with borderline personality disorder.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 06/2006; 163(5):833-8. · 14.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Psychosomatic rehabilitation and the concluding social-medical assessment constitute a particular challenge. The aim of this study was to examine whether inpatient psychosomatic rehabilitation in the context of an integrated treatment concept, conducted in Turkish and German, is effective in the rehabilitation of Turkish migrant laborers, and what concluding socio-medical assessment results from this treatment. 195 Turkish patients--44 male and 151 female--received inpatient psychosomatic treatment for approximately 40 days. Sociodemographic, psychiatric and social-medical data were recorded, as well as Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) testing upon admission and discharge. A predominant number of patients were laborers, with a low level of primary education, who were afflicted with psychosocial problems and dissatisfaction with their workplace and who first came into psychosomatic treatment many years following the onset of their illness. Many of them had a clearly defined desire to retire. At the end of their admission, a significant improvement in almost all the scales of the SCL-R-90 was ascertained on the one hand, but on the other, adequate socio-medical results were hardly observed. The symptoms' improvement would confirm that the combination of service offerings in Turkish and German proved themselves. A portion of the patients (approx. 40 %) were classified subsequent to treatment as capable of working for 6 hours or more. Nevertheless, approximately approx. 75 % still sought to retire. Timely psychosomatic treatment could counteract chronification of the illness and the establishment of a steadfast desire to enter retirement, and consequently represent an improvement in the prognosis. Likewise, consistent psychosomatic training of physicians, as well as systematic prophylactic measures with the migrant laborers, should be considered.
    Das Gesundheitswesen 04/2006; 68(3):147-53. · 0.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Borderline personality disorder is a common and severe psychiatric illness. The goal of this study was to determine whether topiramate can influence patients' borderline psychopathology, health-related quality of life, and interpersonal problems. Women meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Structured Clinical Interview II criteria for borderline personality disorder were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to topiramate titrated from 25 to 200 mg/d (n = 28) or placebo (n = 28) for 10 weeks. Primary outcome measures were changes on the Symptom-Checklist, on the SF-36 Health Survey, and on the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems. Body weight and additional side effects were assessed weekly. According to the intent-to-treat principle, significant changes (all P < 0.001) on the somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, and Global Severity Index scales of the Symptom Checklist were observed in the topiramate-treated subjects after 10 weeks (no significant changes on the obsessive-compulsive, depression, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism scales). In the SF-36 Health Survey, significant differences were observed on all 8 scales (all P < 0.01 or P < 0.001). In the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems, significant differences (all P < 0.001) were found in the scales for overly autocratic, overly competitive, overly introverted, and overly expressive (no significant differences in the scales for overly cold, overly subassertive/subservient, overly exploitable/compliant, and overly nurturant/friendly). Weight loss was additionally observed (p < 0.001). Topiramate appears to be a safe and effective agent in the treatment in women with borderline personality disorder. Additional weight loss can be expected.
    Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 03/2006; 26(1):61-6. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many girls bully others. They are conspicuous because of their risk-taking behavior, increased anger, problematic interpersonal relationships and poor quality of life. Our aim was to determine the efficacy of brief strategic family therapy (BSFT) for bullying-related behavior, anger reduction, improvement of interpersonal relationships, and improvement of health-related quality of life in girls who bully, and to find out whether their expressive aggression correlates with their distinctive psychological features. 40 bullying girls were recruited from the general population: 20 were randomly selected for 3 months of BSFT. Follow-up took place 12 months after the therapy had ended. The results of treatment were examined using the Adolescents' Risk-taking Behavior Scale (ARBS), the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP-D), and the SF-36 Health Survey (SF-36). In comparison with the control group (CG) (according to the intent-to-treat principle), bullying behavior in the BSFT group was reduced (BSFT-G from n = 20 to n = 6; CG from n = 20 to n = 18, p = 0.05) and statistically significant changes in all risk-taking behaviors (ARBS), on most STAXI, IIP-D, and SF-36 scales were observed after BSFT. The reduction in expressive aggression (Anger-Out scale of the STAXI) correlated with the reduction on several scales of the ARBS, IIP-D, and SF-36. Follow-up a year later showed relatively stable events. Our findings suggest that bullying girls suffer from psychological and social problems which may be reduced by the use of BSFT. Expressive aggression in girls appears to correlate with several types of risk-taking behavior and interpersonal problems, as well as with health-related quality of life.
    Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 02/2006; 75(1):47-55. · 9.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the German DRG system the funding of CL services is not ensured. The documentation of psychiatric comorbidity and CL care delivery is a pre-condition to the development of funding models for CL-services. A task force of several German psychosomatic associations (German College of Psychosomatic Medicine, German Society of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, General Medical Society for Psychotherapy) developed a new documentation form for CL-services (CL-BaDo). The pilot study explored the multicenter implementation of CL-BaDo and the use of the documentation form for quality management and cost calculation. Over a period of at least three months, participating CL-services documented all CL cases consecutively with the CL-BaDo. One site applied full electronic data processing. 2116 CL cases from eight psychosomatic CL-services were analysed. The CL-BaDo is a time-efficient, feasible and acceptable documentation form for CL-service delivery. The full electronic data processing enables networking with a hospital information system to produce higher data quality. The data of CL-BaDo can be used locally for quality management, development of management strategies and communication with consultants, as well as nationwide for health policy questions and research.
    Zeitschrift fur Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie 02/2006; 52(2):141-60. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asthma is a serious medical problem in pregnancy and is often associated with stress, anger and poor quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) on change in blood pressure, lung parameters, heart rate, anger and health-related quality of life in pregnant women with bronchial asthma. We treated a sample of 64 pregnant women with bronchial asthma from the local population in an 8-week randomized, prospective, controlled trial. Thirty-two were selected for PMR, and 32 received a placebo intervention. The systolic blood pressure, forced expiratory volume in the first second, peak expiratory flow and heart rate were tested, and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory and Health Survey (SF-36) were employed. According to the intend-to-treat principle, a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and a significant increase in both forced expiratory volume in the first second and peak expiratory flow were observed after PMR. The heart rate showed a significant increase in the coefficient of variation, root mean square of successive differences and high frequency ranges, in addition to a significant reduction in low and middle frequency ranges. A significant reduction on three of five State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory scales, and a significant increase on seven of eight SF-36 scales were observed. PMR appears to be an effective method to improve blood pressure, lung parameters and heart rate, and to decrease anger levels, thus enhancing health-related quality of life in pregnant women with bronchial asthma.
    Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 02/2006; 75(4):237-43. · 9.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Social phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme fear and phobic avoidance of social and performance situations and by a relatively poor health-related quality of life. The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy of mirtazapine versus placebo in the treatment of patients with social phobia. In 2004, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of mirtazapine in 66 female subjects from the general population meeting the criteria for social phobia. The subjects were randomly assigned in a 1:1 manner to mirtazapine (n = 33) or placebo (n = 33). The treatment lasted 10 weeks. Seven patients dropped out. Primary outcome measures were self-reported changes on the Social Phobia Inventory, Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, and Health Survey (SF-36). In comparison with the placebo group and according to the intent-to-treat principle, significant differences on the Social Phobia Inventory and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scales (all P < 0.001), as well as on most (5 from 8) scales of SF-36 (all P < 0.001), were observed in the mirtazapine-treated subjects. All patients tolerated mirtazapine relatively well. Mirtazapine appears to be an effective agent in the treatment of social phobia in women and in the improvement of their health-related quality of life.
    Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 01/2006; 25(6):580-3. · 3.51 Impact Factor