Symptom-specific effects of fluoxetine in post-traumatic stress disorder.
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have become a first line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a recent double-blind study in civilians, fluoxetine produced clinically and statistically significant effects on all general measures of PTSD. We examined the specific effects of fluoxetine versus placebo in the above mentioned study of PTSD clusters and individual symptoms. Individuals were included if they met criteria for PTSD according to the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID). Symptoms were assessed at sequential time points by the Structured Interview for PTSD (SIP), a clinician interview based assessment, and a self-report scale, the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS). A total of 53 patients were included in the analysis. On the SIP and DTS, fluoxetine was found to produce statistically significant changes on all clusters. Significant effects for fluoxetine were noted on 10 items of the DTS, and 8 items of the SIP. The SIP and DTS had 6 items in common that were significant. Fluoxetine exerts a broad spectrum effect in reducing all the symptom clusters of PTSD in this sample. The symptoms of being physically upset at reminders of the trauma, avoiding thoughts of the trauma, having difficulty enjoying things, feeling distant/estranged, having a sense of foreshortened future, and impaired concentration, were the symptoms most responsive to the effects of treatment with fluoxetine on both scales.
Meltzer-Brody, S; Connor, KM; Churchill, E; Davidson, JR
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