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Best antidepressants for anxiety identified

By Lilian Anekwe

Fluoxetine and sertraline are the best antidepressant treatments for generalised anxiety disorder, according to a new study.

UK researchers analysed outcomes for duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, lorazepam, paroxetine, pregabalin, sertraline, tiagabine, and venlafaxine from a total of 27 randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

They examined the proportions of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in Hamilton anxiety scores, the proportion in remission with a final anxiety score of up to seven and the proportion withdrawing from a trial because of adverse events.

Out of all the drugs, fluoxetine ranked first for response and remission while sertraline was ranked first for tolerability.

Professor David Baldwin, professor of psychiatry at Southampton University concluded: ‘Among five UK licensed treatments, duloxetine, escitalopram, and pregabalin might offer some advantages over venlafaxine and paroxetine.’

BMJ 2011, published online March 11

Best antidepressants for anxiety identified