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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Oct;13(7):510-6. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.624548. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

An international survey of reported prescribing practice in the treatment of patients with generalised anxiety disorder.

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University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine, Southampton, UK.



To gain insight into the experience and practice of psychiatrists in the pharmacological management of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).


Multiple-choice questionnaire completed by 501 psychiatrists (representing a 45% response rate) from 18 countries, selected by pharmaceutical company representatives to attend a scientific meeting, through having an interest in anxiety disorders.


Use of screening tools, routine structured diagnostic interviews, and practice guidelines was infrequent. Over one-third of patients did not receive their initial psychiatric consultation within a month after referral. A total of 45% of patients had symptoms for 2 years or longer before being diagnosed and treated. Most patients had been treated with benzodiazepines before referral. 80% of respondents always or often prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), 43% serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or pregabalin (35%) as first-line treatments. The most frequently recommended second-line treatments were SNRIs (41%) and pregabalin (36%). Concentration difficulties, fatigue, excessive worrying and pain were reported as the symptoms most difficult to manage.


Patients with GAD have frequently been treated with benzodiazepines before referral to a psychiatrist. SSRIs were the preferred first-line treatment, and SNRIs and pregabalin preferred second-line treatments. Reported practice in this sample appears largely consistent with recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.

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