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Current Pharmacological Treatments for Childhood Onset OCD


Purpose of review

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition associated with substantial morbidity, comorbidity, and functional impairment in affected youths. Fortunately, efficacy has been established for multiple pharmacotherapies; however, treatment response remains neither universal nor complete; hence, treatment development efforts continue.

Recent findings

This review aims to examine evidence for recent trials examining augmentation strategies for partial responders to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), the efficacy of adding D-cycloserine (DCS) to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interventions for OCD symptoms associated with infection, and a meta-analytic view of SRI efficacy and dose-response outcomes.


Augmentative treatment with SRIs or additional CBT confers additional benefit in CBT partial responders; however, DCS augmentation does not enhance CBT outcomes. Further treatment development is needed to establish effective interventions for infection-related OCD symptoms, and an SRI dose-response curve does not appear to be evident when examining across multiple SRI trials. Implications of these finding for next-stage research efforts and clinical practice are considered.

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References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Correspondence to Bradley C. Riemann Ph.D..

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Conflict of Interest

Martin E. Franklin declares that he has no conflict of interest. Stephanie Eken declares that she has no conflict of interest. Sarah G. Turk Karan declares that she has no conflict of interest. Bradley C. Riemann declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Franklin, M.E., Eken, S., Turk Karan, S.G. et al. Current Pharmacological Treatments for Childhood Onset OCD. Curr Treat Options Psych 6, 401–411 (2019).

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  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Augmentation