Skip to main content
Log in

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

  • Letter to the Editors
  • Published:
Psychopharmacology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: