Post-traumatic stress disorder: an evaluation of existing pharmacotherapies and new strategies.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often a chronic and disabling anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a traumatic event. Researchers have demonstrated efficacy for both pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions in the treatment of PTSD. First-line pharmacotherapeutic options are the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and serotonin noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors. Older antidepressant agents, such as the tricyclic antidepressants and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor, phenelzine, have also proven efficacy in PTSD among more established agents. However, concerns for side effects have limited frequent use of these. Existing pharmacologic agents produce meaningful results and bear the advantage of treating depression and other co-morbid disorders, yet still fall short of being ideal due to limited response and remission rates and tolerability issues. The need for improving pharmacotherapy of PTSD remains compelling and directions for further research are discussed.
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