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An Open-Label, Flexible-Dose Study of Olanzapine in the Treatment of Trichotillomania

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:49-52

Background: Thus far, only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been systematically studied in the treatment of trichotillomania, and the results are conflicting. This open-label study is the first to systematically evaluate an atypical neuroleptic, olanzapine, as a monotherapy in the treatment of trichotillomania.

Method: Twenty-one patients were screened and 18 patients were enrolled in a 3-month open-label study of olanzapine for trichotillomania (diagnosis based on modified DSM-IV criteria). Patients with comorbid psychiatric disorders or on treatment with psychoactive medication were excluded. Olanzapine was titrated gradually in 2.5-mg/week increments up to a maximum dose of 10 mg/day.

Results: Seventeen patients who completed at least 1 week of olanzapine treatment were evaluated. Hair pulling, as measured by the Massachusetts General Hospital Hairpulling Scale, decreased by 66% from baseline (p<=.001), and mean scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety decreased by 63% (p<=.05). Clinical Global Impressions scale scores also revealed significant improvement as a whole (p<=.001), with 4 patients having complete symptom remission at the end of the study period.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that olanzapine may be an effective monotherapy for trichotillomania.