Role of Serotonin Drugs in the Treatment of Social Phobia

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Social phobia is a common anxiety disorder that is underdiagnosed and undertreated. To date, three classes of serotonin drugs have been used to treat patients suffering from social phobia. These include the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the partial 5-HT1A agonist buspirone, and the 5- HT3 antagonist ondansetron. Although none of the serotonin agents have yet been directly compared with the gold standard monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine or the high potency triazolobenzodiazepines alprazolam or clonazepam, the SSRIs, as a class, appear to be clinically useful agents. Further studies using larger sample sizes and double-blind methodology are needed to clarify the role of serotonin drugs in the treatment of social phobia.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 5):50–54