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J Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Jan;63(1):59-65.

Posttraumatic stress disorder and quality of life: results across 64 weeks of sertraline treatment.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.



The goal of the current study was to characterize the quality of life (QOL) and functional impairment associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to report the QOL/functional response over the course of long-term treatment.


QOL and psychosocial functioning were analyzed in 359 randomly assigned patients across a 3-phase study of sertraline in the treatment of chronic DSM-III-R-defined PTSD: (1) 12 weeks of double-blind, placebo-controlled acute treatment with sertraline in flexible doses of 50 to 200 mg/day, (2) 24 weeks of open-label continuation treatment with sertraline among all study completers (regardless of initial study drug assignment or endpoint responder status), and (3) 28 weeks of double-blind, placebo-controlled maintenance treatment with sertraline in continuation phase responders. Assessments included the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q), emotional role functioning and mental health subscales of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), as well as the occupational and social functioning items on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, Part 2 (CAPS-2).


At acute phase baseline, QOL was significantly impaired as reflected by a mean Q-LES-Q score of 56% of the total possible score and a CAPS-2 social/occupational impairment composite score of 4.4. Sertraline treatment was associated with marked improvement on all QOL/functional measurements: at the end of the acute treatment phase, 58% of responders on treatment with sertraline had achieved Q-LES-Q total scores within 10% of community norms. Twenty-four weeks of continuation treatment led to an additional 20% improvement in QOL and measures of functioning. Double-blind discontinuation of sertraline resulted in recurrence of PTSD symptoms and a worsening of QOL and functional measures, although the degree of exacerbation in symptomatology and psychosocial impairment was notably less than at study entry.


Sertraline treatment of chronic PTSD is associated with rapid improvement in quality of life that is progressive and sustained over the course of more than 1 year of treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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