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A Double-Blind Trial of Fluoxetine in Pathologic Skin Picking
Daphne Simeon, M.D., Dan J. Stein, M.B., Shira Gross, Nazrul Islam, M.B., James Schmeidler, Ph.D., and Eric Hollander, M.D.
Background: Our objective was to determine the efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of pathologic skin picking in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial.
Method: Twenty-one adults with chronic
pathologic skin picking agreed to participate and received 10
weeks of placebo or fluoxetine with a flexible dosing schedule up
to 80 mg/day. Three skin-picking measures were employed: the
Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) scale, the Skin
Picking Treatment Scale (SPTS), and a visual analog scale of
self-rated change (VAS). In addition, depression, anxiety, and
Results: Seventeen subjects (6 treated with
fluoxetine and 11 treated with placebo) completed the trial, at a
mean fluoxetine dose of 55 mg/day. Fluoxetine was significantly
superior to placebo in the treatment of skin picking according to
two of the three measures for the completer analysis and to one
of the three measures for the intent-to-treat analysis. Neither
Conclusion: This first controlled trial of the treatment of pathologic skin picking suggests that fluoxetine may be of therapeutic benefit. Larger controlled studies are warranted.
(J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58:341_347)