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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2006 Apr;7(5):545-54.

Pharmacological treatment options for panic disorder in children and adolescents.

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  • 1IRCCS Stella Maris Scientific Institute for Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Via dei Giacinti 2 56018 Calambrone (Pi), Italy.


Although panic disorder usually emerges in early to middle adulthood, adults with panic disorder often retrospectively report that their panic symptoms began in childhood or early adolescence. The majority of these juvenile cases are being misdiagnosed, and/or do not come to clinical attention. Awareness of early-onset panic disorder, as well as a more precise definition of early signs and possible clinical subtypes, can favour timely diagnosis and treatment, reduce clinical impairment and improve the prognosis of these patients. In the context of a multimodal approach, pharmacological treatment can be helpful. This review focuses on the empirical evidence of pharmacotherapy in early-onset panic disorder, including selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines and tricyclics. The data supporting efficacy are still limited, and no controlled studies are available. Practical guidelines for the management of these patients are provided, including treatment of the most frequent psychiatric comorbidities.

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