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Am J Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;168(10):1057-65. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11010087. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

National trends in the antipsychotic treatment of psychiatric outpatients with anxiety disorders.

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Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of Psychology, Boston University, MA, USA.



The purpose of the present study was to examine patterns and recent trends in the antipsychotic medication treatment of anxiety disorders among visits to office-based psychiatrists in the United States.


Annual data from the 1996-2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were analyzed to examine the patterns and trends in antipsychotic medication treatment within a nationally representative sample of 4,166 visits to office-based psychiatrists in which an anxiety disorder was diagnosed.


Across the 12-year period, antipsychotic prescriptions in visits for anxiety disorders increased from 10.6% (1996-1999) to 21.3% (2004-2007). Over the study period, the largest increase in antipsychotic prescribing occurred among new patient visits. Antipsychotic prescribing also significantly increased among privately insured visits and visits in which neither antidepressants nor sedative/hypnotics were prescribed. Among the common anxiety disorder diagnoses, the largest increase in antipsychotic medication treatment was observed in visits for panic disorder. Antipsychotic prescribing rose from 6.9% (1996-1999) to 14.5% (2004-2007) among visits for anxiety disorders in which there were no co-occurring diagnoses with an indication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for antipsychotic medications.


Although little is known about their effectiveness for anxiety disorders, antipsychotic medications are becoming increasingly prescribed to psychiatric outpatients with these disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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