Efficacy and Safety of Fluvoxamine in Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Background: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance, has been noted in case reports, retrospective studies, and clinical series to respond to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). These data further suggest that the delusional variant of BDD (delusional disorder, somatic type) may also respond to SRIs. However, systematic pharmacologic treatment studies of BDD and its delusional variant are needed.

Method: Thirty subjects with BDD or its delusional variant (DSM-IV) were prospectively treated in an open-label fashion with fluvoxamine for 16 weeks. Subjects were assessed at regular intervals with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Modified for BDD (BDD-YBOCS), the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale, and other measures.

Results: BDD-YBOCS scores (mean±SD) decreased from 31.1±5.4 at baseline to 16.9±11.8 at termination (p<.001). Nineteen (63.3%) subjects were rated as responders on the BDD-YBOCS and the CGI (10 [33.3%] were much improved, and 9 [30.0%] were very much improved). Delusional subjects were as likely to respond to fluvoxamine as nondelusional subjects, and delusionality significantly improved. All 5 responders who were delusional at baseline were no longer delusional at study endpoint. The mean dose of fluvoxamine was 238.3±85.8 mg/day, and mean time to response was 6.1±3.7 weeks. Fluvoxamine was generally well tolerated.

Conclusion: These results suggest that fluvoxamine is a safe and effective treatment for BDD, including its delusional disorder variant. Controlled treatment trials are needed to confirm these findings.

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(4):165-171