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J Clin Psychiatry. 1999 May;60(5):346-51; quiz 352.

Patterns of remission and relapse in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a 2-year prospective study.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.



This study examined the course of illness in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) over a 2-year period.


Sixty-six patients with a primary diagnosis of DSM-III-R OCD were followed prospectively for 2 years. Baseline information was collected on demographic characteristics, Axis I and II diagnoses, and severity of OCD symptoms. Follow-up measures obtained at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after baseline assessment included information on symptomatic and diagnostic status as well as behavioral and somatic treatments received.


The probability of full remission from OCD over the 2-year period was 12%. The probability of partial remission was 47%. After achieving remission from OCD, the probability of relapse was 48%. No factors were identified that significantly predicted full or partial remission. Seventy-seven percent (N = 51) of the subjects received a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) for > or =12 weeks, and 68% (N = 45) received medium-to-high doses of SRIs for > or =12 weeks. Only 18% received a full trial of behavior therapy.


Despite exposure to at least 1 adequate trial of an SRI, the likelihood of full remission of OCD in this study was low. Results of this study also suggest that behavior therapy may be under-utilized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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