Double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study of paroxetine for specific phobia

Abstract 

Drugs are not recognized as a standard treatment for specific phobia, despite its apparent similarities to other kinds of phobia. Reluctance on the part of patients and clinicians to see the disorder as more than normal anxiety may explain the apparent resistance to pharmacotherapy. Eleven patients fulfilling DSM-IV criteria for specific phobia were randomized to 4 weeks of double-blind treatment with placebo or paroxetine up to 20 mg/day. They were assessed weekly with the Fear Questionnaire and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety. Paroxetine showed significant superiority in reducing all measures (ANCOVA for reductions in phobia scores F=7.9, P=0.02). One out of six patients responded to placebo, compared to three out of five patients on paroxetine. This new therapeutic option (i.e. drug treatment) for specific phobia deserves further examination in a larger trial.

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Received: 18 August 1999 / Final version: 31 December 1999

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Benjamin, J., Ben-Zion, I., Karbofsky, E. et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study of paroxetine for specific phobia. Psychopharmacology 149, 194–196 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/s002130000372

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  • Key words Anxiety
  • Phobic disorder
  • Paroxetine
  • Pharmacology
  • Serotonin