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Risperidone in Psychotic Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Open Trial

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(7):922-927

Rationale: Psychotic symptoms that frequently occur in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) complicate its pharmacotherapy. We hypothesized that war veterans with psychotic PTSD, resistant to prior antidepressant treatment, would respond well to 6 weeks of treatment with the atypical antipsychotic risperidone, given as a monotherapy.

Method: Twenty-six male war veterans with psychotic PTSD (DSM-IV) completed the 6-week inpatient treatment with risperidone (2-4 mg/day) during the period from November 1999 through December 2002. The primary outcome measure was change from baseline to endpoint (6 weeks) in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total and subscale scores. Secondary outcome measures were changes in PTSD Interview (PTSD-I) and Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness scale (CGI-S) total and subscale scores. Clinical improvement was assessed by CGI-S, CGI-Improvement scale, and Patient Global Impression of Improvement scale, while adverse events were recorded by Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms Scale.

Results: Treatment with risperidone for either 3 or 6 weeks in an open trial significantly reduced total and subscales scores on the PANSS and on the PTSD-I and CGI-S when compared to baseline scores in patients with psychotic PTSD.

Conclusion: Our preliminary data from the open trial indicate that risperidone decreased most of the psychotic and PTSD symptoms. Psychotic PTSD patients, unresponsive to antidepressant treatment, improved significantly after treatment for either 3 or 6 weeks with risperidone.