Clomipramine Treatment of Panic Disorder: Pros and Cons

Background: Controlled trials suggest that clomipramine may be a highly effective antipanic drug. Lowering the starting dose may alleviate troublesome initial side effects and increase acceptability and compliance.

Method: Fifty-eight patients with DSM-III-R panic disorder with or without agoraphobia underwent 13 weeks of clomipramine treatment. Starting at 10 mg/day, the dose was gradually increased to a mean dose of 97 mg/day.

Results: While completers showed highly significant improvement, the benefits were severely limited by a high dropout rate due to adverse reactions occurring mostly during the first 2 weeks of treatment.

Conclusion: Given the alternatives, clomipramine should not be used as a first-line antipanic medication.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(10):423-425