John J Worthington

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (76)342.27 Total impact

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    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a marker of cellular turnover and oxidative stress. Studies suggest major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with oxidative stress, but examinations of MDD and LTL have yielded mixed results, likely because of differences in measurement methods and unmeasured confounding. This study examined LTL and telomerase activity in 166 individuals with MDD compared to 166 age- and gender-matched matched controls free of any psychiatric disorder, using well-validated assays and clinical assessment methods, and controlling for a range of potential confounders. Subjects aged 18 to 70 were evaluated by trained raters and provided blood for LTL and telomerase activity measurement. LTL was assayed using Southern blot and replicated with qPCR, and telomerase activity was assayed with a repeat amplification protocol using a commercial kit. There was no significant difference in telomere length for individuals with MDD [mean (SD)=9.1 (3.0)kbp] compared to controls [mean(SD)=8.9(2.5)kbp] measured by Southern blot (p=0.65) or by confirmatory qPCR (p=0.91) assays. Controlling for potential confounders did not alter the results. Telomerase activity did not differ by MDD diagnosis overall (p=0.40), but the effect of MDD was significantly modified by gender (t(299)=2.67, p=0.0079) even after controlling for potential confounders, with telomerase activity significantly greater only in males with MDD versus controls. Our well-characterized, well-powered examination of concurrently assessed telomere length and telomerase activity in individuals with clinically significant, chronic MDD and matched controls failed to provide strong evidence of an association of MDD with shorter LTL, while telomerase activity was lower in men with MDD. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Previous research has identified high rates of comorbid anxiety disorders among individuals presenting with primary CG. In the present study, we examined the prevalence of comorbid CG in bereaved primary anxiety disorder (AD) patients compared to bereaved healthy controls. We also examined the impairment associated with comorbid CG in AD. Methods: Participants were 242 bereaved adults (mean (SD) age = 41.5 (13.1), 44.2% women) with a primary AD diagnosis, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; n = 57), panic disorder (PD; n = 49), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; n = 29), and generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD; n = 107), as well as 155 bereaved healthy controls with no current DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis (mean (SD) age = 43.0 (13.6), 51.0% women). CG symptoms were measured using the 19-item inventory of complicated grief (ICG), with threshold CG defined as an ICG score of ≥30. Quality of life and functional impairment were assessed with the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q) and the Range of Impaired Functioning Tool (LIFE-RIFT), respectively. Results: Participants with primary ADs had significantly higher rates of threshold CG symptoms than bereaved controls (12.0% vs. 0.65%; Fisher's Exact P < 0.001). Rates of threshold CG were significantly elevated for each AD when compared to bereaved controls. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and comorbid major depressive disorder, threshold CG was associated with lower quality of life (β = -0.140, P = 0.023) and greater impairment (β = 0.141, P = 0.035) among individuals with AD. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that threshold CG is of clinical relevance in bereaved individuals with a primary anxiety disorder. Screening for CG in patients with ADs may be warranted.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Depression and Anxiety
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    ABSTRACT: Research has demonstrated increased attention to negative social cues and reduced attention to positive social cues in generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD), but little is known about whether GSAD also involves differences in lower levels of visual processing. This study explored visual experience in GSAD compared to participants with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and healthy controls using binocular rivalry. Participants were presented with dissimilar images to each eye, and the two images competed for perceptual dominance. Consistent with the hypothesis that GSAD involves a reduced visual salience for positive social cues, we found that smiling faces were dominant for significantly shorter durations in GSAD compared to GAD and controls. Contrasting with our hypothesis of greater visual salience of negative social cues, we found no difference in negative stimuli salience. These findings are consistent with the broader view that a perceiver's affective state directly influences the content of visual consciousness.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of anxiety disorders
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Mindfulness meditation has met increasing interest as a therapeutic strategy for anxiety disorders, but prior studies have been limited by methodological concerns, including a lack of an active comparison group. This is the first randomized, controlled trial comparing the manualized Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with an active control for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a disorder characterized by chronic worry and physiologic hyperarousal symptoms. METHOD: Ninety-three individuals with DSM-IV-diagnosed GAD were randomly assigned to an 8-week group intervention with MBSR or to an attention control, Stress Management Education (SME), between 2009 and 2011. Anxiety symptoms were measured with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA; primary outcome measure), the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness and -Improvement scales (CGI-S and CGI-I), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Stress reactivity was assessed by comparing anxiety and distress during pretreatment and posttreatment administration of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). RESULTS: A modified intent-to-treat analysis including participants who completed at least 1 session of MBSR (n = 48) or SME (n = 41) showed that both interventions led to significant (P < .0001) reductions in HAMA scores at endpoint, but did not significantly differ. MBSR, however, was associated with a significantly greater reduction in anxiety as measured by the CGI-S, the CGI-I, and the BAI (all P values < .05). MBSR was also associated with greater reductions than SME in anxiety and distress ratings in response to the TSST stress challenge (P < .05) and a greater increase in positive self-statements (P = .004). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that MBSR may have a beneficial effect on anxiety symptoms in GAD and may also improve stress reactivity and coping as measured in a laboratory stress challenge. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01033851.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: The Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) is a clinician-administered measure of panic disorder symptom severity widely used in clinical research. This investigation sought to provide clinically meaningful anchor points for the PDSS both in terms of clinical severity as measured by the Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale (CGI-S) and to extend its clinical meaningfulness by examining its association with quality of life. A total of 63 individuals with a primary diagnosis of panic disorder were assessed on completion of a 6- or 8-week psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy trial for the treatment of panic disorder. As expected, the PDSS was correlated with both the CGI-S and quality of life. These results provide further support for the validity and clinical utility of the PDSS and provide simple anchors to help guide the potential use of the PDSS scale to measure treatment progress in clinical practice.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Assessment
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that individuals with panic disorder (PD) report significant sleep disturbances, although the mechanism of this disturbance is not clear. Patients with PD tend to report abnormally high levels of anxiety sensitivity (AS). Because higher AS involves increases in attention and fearfulness about anxiety and associated physical sensations, which in turn may cause excessive psychological and physiologic arousal, we hypothesized that amongst individuals with PD, higher AS would be associated with sleep disruption, particularly in the form of increased sleep latency. As expected, PD was associated with poorer sleep as measured by the Global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) compared to controls and AS was significantly associated with longer sleep latency. Our data suggest that sleep disturbance, and in particular sleep latency, in PD may be partly due to high levels of AS, which can be targeted with cognitive-behavioral therapeutic strategies.
    No preview · Article · May 2011 · Journal of anxiety disorders
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    ABSTRACT: The development of novel strategies for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represents a critical public health need. We present the first prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic agent for the treatment of PTSD and associated insomnia. Twenty-four patients with PTSD by DSM-IV criteria and sleep disturbance were treated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of 3 weeks of eszopiclone 3 mg at bedtime compared to placebo. The primary outcome measures were changes in scores on the Short PTSD Rating Interview (SPRINT) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The data were collected from April 2006 to June 2008. Three weeks of eszopiclone pharmacotherapy was associated with significantly greater improvement than placebo on PTSD symptom measures including the SPRINT (P = .032) and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (P = .003), as well as on measures of sleep including the PSQI (P = .011) and sleep latency (P = .044). Greater improvement with eszopiclone on PTSD measures was present even when specific sleep-related items were excluded. Adverse events were consistent with the known profile of the drug. This study provides initial evidence that pharmacotherapy with eszopiclone may be associated with short-term improvement in overall PTSD severity as well as associated sleep disturbance. Longer, more definitive study of eszopiclone in PTSD is warranted. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00120250.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Animal and human research suggests that the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may involve the overconsolidation of memories of a traumatic experience. Previous studies have attempted to use pharmaceutical agents, especially the β-adrenergic blocker propranolol, to reduce this overconsolidation. In this randomized, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy of propranolol in reducing the development of PTSD, we optimized dosages and conducted both psychophysiological and clinical assessments 1 and 3 months after the traumatic event. Forty-one emergency department patients who had experienced a qualifying acute psychological trauma were randomized to receive up to 240 mg/day of propranolol or placebo for 19 days. At 4 and 12 weeks post-trauma, PTSD symptoms were assessed. One week later, participants engaged in script-driven imagery of their traumatic event while psychophysiological responses were measured. Physiological reactivity during script-driven traumatic imagery, severity of PTSD symptoms, and the rate of the PTSD diagnostic outcome were not significantly different between the two groups. However, post hoc subgroup analyses showed that in participants with high drug adherence, at the 5-week posttrauma assessment, physiological reactivity was significantly lower during script-driven imagery in the propranolol than in the placebo subjects. The physiological results provide some limited support for a model of PTSD in which a traumatic conditioned response is reduced by posttrauma propranolol. However, the clinical results from this study do not support the preventive use of propranolol in the acute aftermath of a traumatic event.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Despite its acute efficacy for the treatment of panic disorder, benzodiazepines (BZs) are associated with a withdrawal syndrome that closely mimics anxiety sensations, leading to difficulty with treatment discontinuation and often disorder relapse. An exposure-based cognitive-behavioral treatment for BZ discontinuation, Panic Control Treatment for BZ Discontinuation (CBT) targets the fear of these sensations and has demonstrated efficacy in preventing disorder relapse and facilitating successful BZ discontinuation among patients with panic disorder. In this randomized controlled trial, CBT was compared to taper alone and a taper plus a relaxation condition to control for the effect of therapist contact and support among 47 patients with panic disorder seeking taper from BZs. Based on the primary outcome of successful discontinuation of BZ use, results indicate that adjunctive CBT provided additive benefits above both taper alone and taper plus relaxation, with consistently medium and large effect sizes over time that reached significance at the six month follow-up evaluation. The efficacy of CBT relative to either of the other taper conditions reflected very large and significant effect sizes at that time. These findings suggest that CBT provides specific efficacy for the successful discontinuation from BZs, even when controlling for therapist contact and relaxation training.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2010 · Behaviour Research and Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This is the first trial examining duloxetine for generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD) and the effect of increased dose for those without early remission. Methods: Individuals (n=39) with GSAD received 6 weeks of open-label duloxetine 60 mg/day; those with a Liebowitz Social Anxiety Disorder Scale (LSAS) score >30 at week 6 were randomized in double-blind fashion to an additional 18 weeks of continued duloxetine 60 mg/day or to duloxetine 120 mg/day. Results: Duloxetine was associated with a significant LSAS reduction at week 6 (91.3 [17.7] to 69.8 [28.5], paired t [df]=5.2 [38], P<.0001), and randomized participants overall continued to improve at week 24 (74.6 [23.9] to 60.3 [29.7]; paired t [df]=3.3 [27], P=.0026). Though the increased dose strategy was associated with a moderate effect size (Cohen's d=.57), there was no significant difference at week 24 endpoint in LSAS reduction (20.5 [26.0] versus 7.3 [17.2], t [df]=1.6 [26], P=.13) nor remission (33% versus 8%) for duloxetine with dose increased to 120 mg/day compared to duloxetine continued at 60 mg/day. Overall, 44% (17/39) discontinued prior to week 24. Conclusions: Though with limited power, these data provide preliminary support for the efficacy of duloxetine for GSAD, and suggest continued improvement but limited remission overall at 24 weeks for individuals remaining symptomatic at week 6. These observations warrant further controlled study.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2010 · CNS spectrums
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    ABSTRACT: More data are needed to guide next-step interventions for panic disorder refractory to initial intervention. This 24-week randomized clinical trial (RCT) enrolled 46 patients with DSM-IV-defined panic disorder from November 2000 to April 2005 and consisted of 3 phases. Patients who failed to meet remission criteria were eligible for randomization in the next treatment phase. Phase 1 was a 6-week lead-in with open-label sertraline flexibly dosed to 100 mg (or escitalopram equivalent) to prospectively define treatment refractoriness (lack of remission). Phase 2 was a 6-week double-blind RCT of (1) increased-dose selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) versus (2) continued SSRI plus placebo. Phase 3 was a 12-week RCT of added cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) compared to "medication optimization" with SSRI plus clonazepam. Primary endpoints were remission and change in Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) score in the intent-to-treat sample in each phase. In phase 1, 20.5% (8/39) of the patients achieved remission, and only baseline severity predicted endpoint PDSS score (beta [SE] = 1.04 [0.15], t = 6.76, P < .001). In phase 2, increasing the SSRI dose did not result in greater improvement or remission rates (placebo 15% [n = 2] vs increased dose 9% [n = 1]: Fisher exact test P = NS). In phase 3, remission was minimal (medication optimization = 11% [n = 1]; CBT = 10% [n = 1]), with a lack of group difference in PDSS score reduction (t(17) = 0.51, P > .60) consistent with a small effect size (d = 0.24). Although power was limited and larger studies are needed, we failed to find evidence for greater benefit of increased SSRI dose versus continuation of current dose for panic disorder symptomatic after 6 weeks at moderate dose. Further, augmentation with CBT or medication optimization with clonazepam augmentation in nonremitted panic after 12 weeks of an SSRI did not differ, suggesting that both are reasonable next-step options. However, low overall remission rates in this comorbid refractory population suggest that better predictors of response to specific treatments over time and additional interventions are needed. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00118417.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia is a common, often chronic and refractory anxiety disorder. Although a number of pharmacotherapies are now indicated for panic disorder, many patients do not respond to available interventions. We hypothesized that duloxetine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that has greater initial noradrenergic effects than venlafaxine, would have broad efficacy for individuals with panic disorder. Fifteen individuals with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia received 8 weeks of open label duloxetine flexibly dosed from 60 to 120 mg per day. Duloxetine treatment resulted in significant anxiolysis as measured by the primary outcome measure, the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) (paired t(df) = 4.02(14), P= 0.0013), as well as measures of generalized anxiety, depression and quality of life (all P < 0.05). Although definitive conclusions are limited due to its small open-label nature, this first prospective study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of duloxetine for panic disorder and suggests larger randomized controlled study is warranted.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Corticolimbic circuitry has been implicated in generalized social anxiety disorder (gSAD) by several neuroimaging symptom provocation studies. However, there are limited data regarding resting state or treatment effects on regional cerebral metabolic rate of glucose uptake (rCMRglu). Given evidence for anxiolytic effects conferred by tiagabine, a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) reuptake inhibitor, the present [(18)F] fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography ((18)FDG-PET) study sought to (1) compare resting rCMRglu between healthy control (HC) and pretreatment gSAD cohorts, (2) examine pre- to post-tiagabine treatment rCMRglu changes in gSAD, and (3) determine rCMRglu predictors of tiagabine treatment response. Fifteen unmedicated individuals with gSAD and ten HCs underwent a baseline (pretreatment) resting-state (18)FDG-PET scan. Twelve of the gSAD individuals completed an open, 6-week, flexible dose trial of tiagabine, and underwent a second (posttreatment) resting-state (18)FDG-PET scan. Compared to the HC subjects, individuals with gSAD demonstrated less pretreatment rCMRglu within the anterior cingulate cortex and ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) at baseline. Following tiagabine treatment, vmPFC rCMRglu increased significantly in the gSAD group. Further, the magnitude of treatment response was inversely correlated with pretreatment rCMRglu within vmPFC. Taken together the present findings converge with neuroimaging findings from studies of social cognition in healthy individuals and symptom provocation in gSAD to support a role for the vmPFC in the pathophysiology of gSAD. Given the pharmacological profile of tiagabine, these findings suggest that its therapeutic effects in gSAD may be mediated by GABAergic modulation within the vmPFC.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with anxiety disorders often remain symptomatic despite treatment with a first-line pharmacologic agent. More research examining pharmacotherapy augmentation strategies to improve outcomes is needed. In an 8-week, open-label, prospective augmentation study, we examined the efficacy and tolerability of the novel antipsychotic agent aripiprazole for adult outpatients with generalized anxiety disorder (n=13) or panic disorder (n=10) who remained symptomatic despite treatment for at least 8 weeks with an adequate (or maximally tolerated) dose of typical pharmacotherapy. Aripiprazole augmentation was associated with a significant reduction in Clinical Global Impressions-Severity scores (paired t=4.41, df=22, P<.001) in the intent-to-treat sample of 23 individuals. Three subjects (13%) discontinued due to sedation, chest discomfort, and restlessness, respectively. These data provide preliminary evidence that aripiprazole may be a useful augmentation strategy for individuals with generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder who show a limited response to initial pharmacotherapy.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · CNS spectrums
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    ABSTRACT: More data are needed to guide "next step" strategies for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) remaining symptomatic despite initial pharmacotherapy. This study prospectively examined the relative efficacy of quetiapine versus placebo augmentation for individuals with GAD remaining symptomatic with initial paroxetine CR pharmacotherapy. Adult outpatients with GAD were recruited from 2004 to 2007 at two academic centers. Phase 1 consisted of 10 weeks of open-label paroxetine CR flexibly dosed to a maximum of 62.5 mg/day. Those remaining symptomatic (Hamilton Anxiety Scale [HAM-A] >or= 7) at week 10 were randomized to quetiapine or placebo augmentation flexibly dosed from 25 to 400 mg/day. For participants receiving paroxetine CR (n = 50), there was a significant reduction in HAM-A scores (baseline mean +/- SD = 22.4 +/- 4.2 to endpoint mean +/- SD = 11.2 +/- 6.9; paired t = 12.1, df = 49, t < 0.0001) with 40% (n = 20) achieving remission. Counter to our hypothesis, we did not find significant benefit for quetiapine augmentation of continued paroxetine CR (HAM-A reduction mean +/- SD = 2.6 +/- 5.8 points quetiapine, 0.3 +/- 5.5 points placebo; t = 0.98, df = 20, p = n.s.) in the randomized sample (n = 22) with relatively minimal additional improvement overall in phase 2. Although conclusions are considered preliminary based on the relatively small sample size, our data do not support the addition of quetiapine to continued paroxetine CR for individuals with GAD who remain symptomatic after 10 weeks of prospective antidepressant pharmacotherapy and suggest that further research examining strategies for GAD refractory to antidepressants is needed.
    No preview · Article · May 2008 · Psychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychiatric disorders as a group, and despite the effectiveness of currently available treatments for anxiety, many patients (40%-65%) remain symptomatic after initial intervention. Thus, there is a significant need for efficacious pharmacologic agents that are safe and well tolerated and lead patients to remission of symptoms. We present a retrospective analysis that assessed the efficacy and tolerability of adjunctive levetiracetam, a novel anticonvulsant agent, in the treatment of refractory anxiety. Forty patients with DSM-IV anxiety disorders, who were deemed partial responders or nonresponders to anxiolytic therapy, received adjunctive levetiracetam in a naturalistic fashion during the time period from January 2004 through December 2004. We conducted a retrospective chart review. The primary outcome measures were the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness (CGI-S) scale and the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) scale. Mean change from baseline to endpoint was assessed using 2-tailed paired t tests. Levetiracetam at a mean +/- SD dose of 1969 +/- 819 mg/day for a mean +/- SD time period of 9.3 +/- 5.1 weeks was generally well tolerated. Patients were markedly ill with a mean +/- SD baseline CGI-S score of 6.2 +/- 0.6. Patients improved significantly, with an endpoint CGI-S score of 4.2 +/- 1.8 (p < .001) and CGI-I score of 2.6 +/- 1.2. Adverse events were generally mild, and only 4 patients discontinued levetiracetam because of side effects. These preliminary data suggest that levetiracetam may be an effective adjunctive treatment for patients with anxiety disorders who remain symptomatic despite initial anxiolytic therapy.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2007 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: To date, no large-scale, controlled trial comparing a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor with placebo for the treatment of panic disorder has been reported. This double-blind study compares the efficacy of venlafaxine extended-release (ER) and paroxetine with placebo. A total of 664 nondepressed adult outpatients who met DSM-IV criteria for panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of treatment with placebo or fixed-dose venlafaxine ER (75 mg/day or 150 mg/day), or paroxetine 40 mg/day. The primary measure was the percentage of patients free from full-symptom panic attacks, assessed with the Panic and Anticipatory Anxiety Scale (PAAS). Secondary measures included the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, Clinical Global Impressions--Severity (CGI-S) and--Improvement (CGI-I) scales; response (CGI-I rating of very much improved or much improved), remission (CGI-S rating of not at all ill or borderline ill and no PAAS full-symptom panic attacks); and measures of depression, anxiety, phobic fear and avoidance, anticipatory anxiety, functioning, and quality of life. Intent-to-treat, last observation carried forward analysis showed that mean improvement on most measures was greater with venlafaxine ER or paroxetine than with placebo. No significant differences were observed between active treatment groups. Panic-free rates at end point with active treatment ranged from 54% to 61%, compared with 35% for placebo. Approximately 75% of patients given active treatment were responders, and nearly 45% achieved remission. The placebo response rate was slightly above 55%, with remission near 25%. Adverse events were mild or moderate and similar between active treatment groups. Venlafaxine ER and paroxetine were effective and well tolerated in the treatment of panic disorder.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2007 · Depression and Anxiety
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about factors that mediate the relationship between anxiety and respiratory-related distress and disability. We hypothesized that elevations in anxiety sensitivity would be associated with greater severity of dyspnea, greater dyspnea-related avoidance, and poorer subjective assessment of health in patients with dyspnea referred for pulmonary function testing, regardless of objective evidence of pulmonary dysfunction. A total of 182 consecutive patients receiving pulmonary function tests to evaluate dyspnea were screened with a patient-rated Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders and completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index and questionnaires assessing symptom severity and avoidance. Anxiety Sensitivity Index score predicted more severe subjective dyspnea and greater dyspnea-related avoidance, even after adjustment for anxiety disorders and pulmonary dysfunction. Despite some limitations, these data provide preliminary support that strategies to identify, measure, and address high levels of anxiety sensitivity should be examined to reduce subjective distress and improve functioning for patients with dyspnea.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2007 · Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease
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    ABSTRACT: There is a paucity of data to support "next-step" treatments for the many patients with anxiety disorders who remain symptomatic after initial pharmacotherapy. Thirty patients with a primary diagnosis of an anxiety disorder-panic disorder (PD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)-refractory to initial pharmacotherapy with an adequate (or maximally tolerated) antidepressant and/or benzodiazepine trial of at least 8 weeks' duration prior to study initiation received open-label augmentation with flexibly dosed risperidone for 8 weeks. Participants were diagnosed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Risperidone augmentation at a mean +/- SD dose of 1.12 +/- 0.68 mg/day (range, 0.25-3.00 mg/day) resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms across disorders as measured by the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness scale and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A) scores and for each disorder-specific primary outcome measure-the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, and HAM-A-in the intent-to-treat sample. Seventy percent (21/30) of participants completed the 8-week trial, with premature discontinuation due primarily to sedation and weight gain. Although conclusions are limited by the open-label, relatively brief nature of this trial, our data suggest that augmentation with low-dose risperidone may be a useful option for patients with PD, SAD, or GAD refractory to adequate initial intervention with antidepressants and/or benzodiazepines. Longer-term, controlled safety and efficacy data are needed to understand the place of risperidone augmentation in the algorithm of treatment options for refractory anxiety disorders.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2006 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

Publication Stats

3k Citations
342.27 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995-2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1995-2013
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • • Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997-2008
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States