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Original Research

Olanzapine Addition in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Refractory to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: An Open-Label Case Series

Erica L. Weiss, Marc N. Potenza, Christopher J. McDougle, and C. Neill Epperson

Published: August 1, 1999

Article Abstract

Background: Despite the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a significant number of patients show no or only partial remission of symptoms. Some evidence exists to suggest that risperidone augmentation can be helpful in treating this refractory group. The efficacy of other atypical antipsychotic agents, such as olanzapine, in augmenting SSRIs in refractory obsessive-compulsive patients has yet to be systematically investigated.

Method: A series of 10 patients with DSM-IV obsessive-compulsive disorder showing significant residual symptoms following an adequate SSRI trial (12 weeks) were given open-label olanzapine augmentation for a minimum of an additional 8 weeks. Treatment response was assessed using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and the Clinical Global Impressions scale.

Results: Nine of the 10 patients in this series treated with olanzapine and an SSRI completed the 8-week augmentation trial. Of these, 4 demonstrated a complete remission or major improvement in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, 3 had partial remission, and 2 experienced no benefit. Nine patients experienced minimal adverse effects, primarily sedation, which did not interfere with continuing treatment. One patient discontinued olanzapine owing to excessive sedation.

Conclusion: The results of this preliminary, open-label trial suggest that olanzapine may be effective in augmenting ongoing SSRI treatment for a portion of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder refractory to SSRI treatment. Larger, placebo-controlled trials appear warranted to investigate the clinical efficacy and tolerability of olanzapine augmentation of SSRI treatment in SSRI-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Volume: 60

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