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Expert Rev Neurother. 2007 Jul;7(7):769-81.

Pregabalin for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a novel pharmacologic intervention.

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  • 1University of Göttingen, Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, von-Siebold-Str. 5, D-37075 Göttingen, Germany. sekretariat.bandelow@medizin.uni-goettingen.de


Pregabalin is the first anxiolytic pharmacologic alternative for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to be introduced in more than 10 years. GAD is a significant psychiatric condition with lifetime prevalence rates ranging between 5.7 and 6.4%. It causes significant impairment in quality of life and functional abilities equivalent to those associated with major depression. Randomized, controlled trials confirm that pregabalin is superior to placebo and comparable with lorazepam, alprazolam and venlafaxine for the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe GAD. The onset of anxiolytic activity for pregabalin is apparent within 1 week following initiation of treatment, which is more rapid than that obtained with paroxetine and venlafaxine. Additionally, pregabalin has demonstrated potential for the prevention of relapse of GAD. Recently, the efficacy, safety and tolerability of pregabalin were also shown in a placebo-controlled study with elderly patients. Safety and tolerability profiles are favorable, with transient dizziness and somnolence of mild-to-moderate severity being the most commonly reported adverse events. Pregabalin has minimal potential for drug-drug interactions and does not provoke a clinically significant withdrawal response. Furthermore, pregabalin has low potential for abuse and dependence, unlike other classes of medications used for the treatment of GAD. Clinicians may consider the use of pregabalin in lieu of benzodiazepines as an alternative therapy for their patients with GAD.

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