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A Preliminary Study of Risperidone in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Related to Childhood Abuse in Women

J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(12):1601-1606

Background: This study evaluated the effectiveness of risperidone in women for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to childhood physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse.

Method: Subjects were outpatient adult women, aged 18 to 64 years, with chronic PTSD related to childhood physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. Data were collected from November 18, 2001, to June 7, 2003. Subjects met DSM-III-R criteria for PTSD and criteria for PTSD on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, 1-month version (CAPS-1). Subjects were randomly assigned to receive risperidone (N = 12) in flexible daily dosages in the range of 0.5 to 8 mg or placebo (N = 9) for 8 weeks. The primary outcome measures were changes in score from baseline on the CAPS-1 and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, 1-week version (CAPS-2).

Results: Risperidone-treated patients had a significantly greater reduction in total score on the CAPS-2 (z = -2.44, p = .015). Risperidone-treated patients also had significantly greater reductions in the intrusive (z = -5.71, p < .001) and hyperarousal (z = -2.74, p = .006) subscale scores of the CAPS-2.

Conclusion: The results of the current study indicate that low-dosage risperidone is a safe and effective treatment for intrusive and hyperarousal symptoms in adult women with chronic PTSD from childhood physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse.