Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Advances in the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the availability of modern psychotropics have led to renewed interest in the pharmacotherapy of this disorder. In this paper we focus on trials of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in PTSD. Studies of the pharmacotherapy of PTSD were identified using methods developed by the Cochrane collaboration. Although a range of open trials of different SSRIs in PTSD show promise, there are few controlled pharmacotherapy studies in this disorder. Nevertheless, pharmacotherapy for PTSD appears to have reasonably robust effects, with odds ratios for responder status, defined as 'much improved' or 'very much improved' on the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI), on drug versus placebo varying from 2.2 to 5.6 in randomized controlled trials of different agents. The SSRIs appear both safe and effective for this indication. Additional research with these agents is necessary to clarify many questions, including predictors of response, duration of treatment, comparison with other agents, and integration with psychotherapy. In the interim, however, the SSRIs can be recommended as a first-line medication for the treatment of PTSD. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.