By On February 21st, 2008

Common antidepressants can help to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder

According to a recent review of 17 studies published in the Cochrane Library, common antidepressants such as Zoloft or Prozac can help to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The review, which included 3,097 individuals, found that SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), six to 13 weeks after initial use, were more effective than placebo. Patients that took SSRIs were twice as likely to have a level of relief from the symptoms of OCD. Current therapies for OCD encourage the individual to confront and tolerate the irrational fears that are created by the disorder. However, approximately 25 percent of people suffering from OCD refuse this type of therapy as a treatment option. SSRIs may offer some relief to this population. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that summarizes the review:

Common antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft can be effective treatment options for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), according to a new review of studies.

Patients who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are twice as likely to get some relief from their OCD symptoms as those who take placebo pills are.

However, the drugs have a “modest” effect at best, said Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Soomro, lead review author and honorary research fellow at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London.

“Although SSRIs should be considered potentially effective treatments for OCD patients, treatment decisions need to take account of the potential adverse effects of these drugs,” including nausea, insomnia and sexual dysfunction, he warned.

The review of studies appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews like this one draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Many people with OCD seek out therapy that teaches them to confront, tolerate and gradually wean themselves from obsessive and compulsive behaviors.

“This is the primary kind of therapy used for OCD. It teaches patients to pay attention to their internal experiences and tolerate scary thoughts without having to act on them,” said Sanjaya Saxena, M.D., director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “They learn that nothing terrible happens if they refrain from their usual compulsive behaviors.”

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medical News Today

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