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J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62 Suppl 1:43-8; discussion 49.

Treatment of social phobia with antidepressants.

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  • 1Anxiety Disorders Clinic, New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.


This article reviews evidence for the utility of antidepressant medications in the treatment of social phobia. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) were the first antidepressants shown to be effective for social phobia, but dietary restrictions and a relatively high rate of adverse effects often relegate MAOIs to use after other treatments have been found ineffective. Reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase (RIMAs) hold promise as safer alternatives to MAOIs, but RIMAs may be less effective and are currently unavailable in the United States. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which paroxetine has been the best studied in social phobia to date, have recently emerged as a first-line treatment for the generalized subtype of social phobia. The SSRIs are well tolerated and consistently have been shown to be efficacious in controlled trials.

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