Social Anxiety Disorder: Designing a Pharmacologic Treatment Strategy

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Growing appreciation of the prevalence of and morbid sequelae associated with social anxiety disorder has focused increasing interest on the development of effective treatment strategies. A number of pharmacologic interventions, including the monoamine oxidase inhibitors, reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A, ß-blockers, benzodiazepines, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. The choice of initial treatment depends on a variety of factors including comorbidity, prior treatment history, patient preference, and adverse effect profile. This article will examine the effectiveness of various pharmacologic agents for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, discuss considerations for long-term management, and review strategies for optimizing treatment in patients who are partially responsive or unresponsive to initial therapy.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(suppl 9):20-26