[Recent trends in pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders].

Since the introduction of SSRIs, pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders has significantly changed. Although the SSRIs are considered to be a first-line treatment for the most of anxiety disorders benzodiazepines are still widely used in clinical practice despite the risk of dependence and strong recommendation for their use as a second-line. The SSRIs only replaced tricyclic antidepressants and the MAO inhibitors especially in the treatment of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia. Combination of the SSRIs and the benzodiazepines is widely used. Recently it has been suggested that the combination of SSRI and benzodiazepine is rational, because each drug has a different mechanism of action, the benzodiazepines enhancing GABAergic transmission, and the SSRIs stimulating the 5-HT1A receptor that may inhibit the postsynaptic neuronal excitability in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex that comprise the brain circuit of fear and anxiety. Recent imaging studies suggested the hyperactivity of the amygdala in the patients with generalized social anxiety disorder and successful treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy or SSRI might significantly reduce the hyperactivity of the amygdala. It was suggested that the rational combination of SSRIs and benzodiazepines seems to be an effective and practical way of treatment for most anxiety disorders.
AuthorsOsamu Tajima
JournalNihon shinkei seishin yakurigaku zasshi = Japanese journal of psychopharmacology (Nihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi) Vol. 24 Issue 3 Pg. 133-6 (Jun 2004) ISSN: 1340-2544 [Print] Japan
PMID15291242 (Publication Type: English Abstract, Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Amygdala (drug effects, physiology)
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic (therapeutic use)
  • Anxiety Disorders (drug therapy)
  • Benzodiazepines (administration & dosage)
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder (drug therapy)
  • Phobic Disorders
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors (administration & dosage)

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