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Antidepressant Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Teri Pearlstein, MD

Published: April 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Recent large double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have indicated that sertraline is an effective andwell-tolerated treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The avoidance/numbing symptomcluster improved the most significantly with sertraline, but significant improvements were also notedfor the intrusive/reexperiencing and arousal symptom clusters. Smaller double-blind, placebo-controlledtrials have also indicated that fluoxetine is an effective treatment for PTSD. Multiple small, open studieswith other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and newer antidepressants indicate that these medicationsshow some promise. Older studies indicate some efficacy for tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamineoxidase inhibitors are a reasonable choice, particularly for intrusive/reexperiencing symptoms.

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