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CNS Drugs. 2005;19(5):377-91.

Social anxiety disorder : current treatment recommendations.

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Medical Research Council's Unit on Anxiety Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa.


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a prevalent and disabling disorder associated with significant co-morbidity. An increased awareness of SAD over the past two decades has given impetus to advances in the pharmacotherapeutic and psychotherapeutic treatment options for this disorder. On the basis of consistent data from randomised controlled trials, present consensus supports the use of SSRIs as the first-line treatment in generalised SAD, partly because of established short- and long-term efficacy in this disorder, evidence for safety and tolerability, and ability to treat co-morbid conditions. There is more recent evidence that venlafaxine XR (extended release) may also be considered a first-line treatment in SAD. Second-line treatments include MAOIs (e.g. phenelzine) and reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A (e.g. moclobemide), while some benzodiazepines and antiepileptics (e.g. clonazepam and pregabalin) may also be useful. Over the past two decades, cognitive behavioural therapies for SAD have gained increasing empirical support. The optimal approach to the management of treatment-refractory SAD patients requires additional study.

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