Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychiatr Serv. 2004 May;55(5):519-31.

Current concepts in pharmacotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder.

Author information

  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.



This article describes current approaches to the pharmacologic treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and reviews the classes of pharmacologic agents used in the treatment of PTSD. Pharmacotherapy for PTSD that is comorbid with other psychiatric disorders is highlighted.


The primary-source literature was reviewed by using a MEDLINE search. Secondary-source review articles and chapters were also used. Results from studies of the psychophysiology of PTSD are outlined in the review to help inform treatment choices. The review gives more consideration to controlled studies than to open clinical trials. Recommendations for treatment are evidence based.


A growing body of evidence demonstrates the efficacy of pharmacologic treatment for PTSD. The effectiveness of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors sertraline and paroxetine in large-scale, well-designed, placebo-controlled trials resulted in their being the first medications to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of PTSD. Observation of psychophysiologic alterations associated with PTSD has led to the study of adrenergic-inhibiting agents and mood stabilizers as therapeutic agents. Controlled clinical trials with these classes of medication are needed to determine their efficacy for treating PTSD. Finally, the choice of medication for treating PTSD is often determined by the prominence of specific PTSD symptoms and the pattern of comorbid psychiatric conditions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk