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Pharmacologic Treatment of Acute and Chronic Stress Following Trauma: 2006

Jonathan R. T. Davidson, MD

Published: February 15, 2006

Article Abstract

This article reviews pharmacologic treatment options for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), focusing on goals of pharmacotherapy and the clinical trial evidence for drug treatments available for PTSD. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are recommended as first-line therapy for PTSD; the roles of these and other drug classes including anticonvulsants, mood enhancers, atypical antipsychotic agents, benzodiazepines, α1-adrenergic antagonists, and β-blockers in achieving improvement in PTSD symptom and outcome scores, achieving remission, and avoiding relapse are discussed. Treatment of PTSD in association with other comorbid conditions is addressed, and the role of pharmacotherapy in treating early PTSD and acute stress disorder is examined. Dosing strategies for the SSRIs sertraline and paroxetine are provided, and an algorithm for PTSD pharmacotherapy is discussed.

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