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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jul;26(4):193-200. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e3283473738.

A review of atypical antipsychotic medications for posttraumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a chronic and disabling illness with a limited response to antidepressant treatment, particularly in the case of combat-induced PTSD. The purpose of this study is to review randomized controlled and open-label trials of atypical antipsychotics for the treatment of PTSD. We conducted PUBMED and PILOTS database searches for clinical trials of atypical antipsychotic medications for PTSD in May 2010. Eighteen clinical trials (10 double-blind placebo-controlled, eight open-label) of atypical antipsychotics for PTSD were found and reviewed. Effect sizes of double-blind placebo-controlled trials were small, but were positive for risperidone and quetiapine. Intrusive and hypervigilance symptom subscales showed the most improvement. We concluded that atypical antipsychotic medications have a modest benefit for the treatment of PTSD. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to clarify the potential utility of these medications in the treatment of PTSD and more rigorous examination of metabolic side effects is warranted.

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