, Volume 115, Issue 1-2, pp 128-134

Psychopharmacological treatment of social phobia; a double blind placebo controlled study with fluvoxamine

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Previous studies have shown selective and non-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) to be effective in the treatment of social phobia. In this study we investigated the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in social phobia. Thirty patients with social phobia (DSM-IIIR) were treated with the SSRI fluvoxamine (150 mg daily) using a 12-week double-blind placebo controlled design. A substantial improvement was observed in seven (46%) patients on fluvoxamine and in one (7%) on placebo. Statistically significant effects were seen on measures of social anxiety and general (or anticipatory) anxiety in patients treated with fluvoxamine compared with placebo. The level of phobic avoidance decreased also but the difference at endpoint between fluvoxamine and placebo failed to reach statistical significance. It is concluded that treatment with the SSRI fluvoxamine has beneficial effects in patients suffering from social phobia, suggesting that serotonergic mechanisms might be implicated in social anxiety.