Chronology of panic and avoidance, age of onset in panic disorder, and prediction of treatment response

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Summary

The relevance of the chronology between panic disorder and avoidance behavior and of an early, medium or late onset of panic disorder was tested. Groups from the sample of the cross-national collaborative panic study (CNCPS) were compared for differences in basic characteristics and for the ability to predict treatment response. Patients who developed avoidance behavior before the full syndrome of panic disorder had less often a full agoraphobia but were not different in their response to treatment. Patients with an early onset of panic disorder suffered more often from agoraphobia. The treatment response was similar in the groups with early, medium or late onset of panic disorder. Neither the chronology between panic disorder and avoidance behavior nor the age of onset of panic disorder predicted outcome in short-term treatment with alprazolam or impiramine.