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(p. 593) Pharmacological Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 

(p. 593) Pharmacological Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
(p. 593) Pharmacological Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Julia A. Golier

, Andreas C. Michaelides

, Maya Genovesi

, Emily Chapman

, and Rachel Yehuda

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date: 28 October 2020

Although psychotherapy is considered first-line treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), advances have been made in pharmacological treatment. Based on controlled clinical trials, antidepressants remain the first-line pharmacological treatment. Studies suggest that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors reduce PTSD-specific symptoms and improve global outcome. Emerging evidence suggests efficacy for venlafaxine. Other individual agents found to be efficacious include imipramine and phenelzine. Prazosin is emerging as a beneficial adjunct for PTSD-related sleep disturbances and nightmares. Some evidence suggests that atypical antipsychotics may be efficacious against a broad range of symptoms, although the risk of metabolic side effects may limit widespread use. Trials are needed to assess whether anticonvulsants, cortisol-based treatments, sympatholytics, or other novel approaches are efficacious, and how pharmacotherapy can enhance psychotherapy outcomes. These studies should consider the goals of pharmacotherapy in PTSD and the subgroups of patients or clinical presentations most likely to benefit from pharmacological interventions.

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