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CNS Spectr. 2006 Oct;11(10 Suppl 12):21-8.

Defining response and remission in anxiety disorders: toward an integrated approach.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany.


Response and remission rates are commonly used to evaluate the efficacy of treatments for anxiety disorders and other psychiatric illnesses. Response is generally regarded as a clinically meaningful improvement in symptoms, while remission, the goal of treatment, is generally thought of as the absence or near absence of symptoms following illness, accompanied by a return to premorbid levels of functioning. Response and remission are often defined using psychiatric rating scales, based on score cutoffs or the magnitude of score changes from baseline. While no universally accepted criteria exist, a commonly used threshold for response is a >50% improvement in the total score, while for remission, various cutoff points have been used. Comparison of cutoffs or change scores for disease-specific scales with Clinical Global Impressions ratings is a useful way of evaluating response and remission criteria across disorders. To illustrate the use of disease-specific and global measures, this article summarizes data from randomized, placebo-controlled studies of adult patients with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder treated with the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor venlafaxine extended release, for which acute-phase data are available (a total of 13 trials).

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