Open Trial of Nefazodone for Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Background: Because of its ability to block 5-HT2 receptors postsynaptically and inhibit 5-HT reuptake presynaptically and/or its enhancement of sleep quality, nefazodone may be useful for symptom management in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients.

Method: Ten patients with combat-related DSM-IV posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) entered an open-label 12-week trial of nefazodone with a 4-week follow-up, beginning with 100 mg/day and increasing as necessary to achieve a maximal response or until reaching a maximum dosage of 600 mg/day.

Results: Nefazodone was well tolerated, and no significant changes in sexual function were reported. Based on Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scores, all 10 patients were rated as much improved. All PTSD symptoms (except self-reported PTSD reexperiencing symptoms), sleep, and clinician-rated depression significantly improved at week 12. At follow-up, significant changes were maintained, and self-reported PTSD reexperiencing symptoms had also significantly improved. Effect sizes for all changed symptoms were moderate to large at week 12 and at follow-up. Self-reported and clinician-rated anger significantly improved. Self-reported depression failed to improve. Improvement in social and occupational functioning was minimal.

Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that nefazodone may be effective in reducing the 3 primary PTSD symptom clusters and may be particularly helpful in improving sleep and decreasing anger.

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(9):460-464