Send to

Choose Destination
Int Rev Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;25(1):107-15. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2012.729758.

Psychopharmacotherapy of somatic symptoms disorders.

Author information

Adult Mental Health Services, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS trust, Coventry, UK.


Somatic symptoms are often common causes for medical consultation. The treatment of somatic symptoms disorders is complicated by lack of boundary, conceptual clarity, and overemphasis on psychosocial causation and effectiveness of psychological treatments. In clinical practice all classes of psychotropics are used to treat somatic symptoms disorder. Five principal groups of drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), atypical antipsychotics and herbal medication are systematically studied. The evidence indicates that all five groups are effective in a wide range of disorders. All classes of antidepressants seem to be effective against somatoform and related disorders. SSRIs are more effective against hypochondriasis and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and SNRIs appear to be more effective than other antidepressants when pain is the predominant symptom. Research leaves many unanswered questions regarding dosing, duration of treatment, sustainability of improvement in the long term and differential response to different class drugs. Further studies need to focus on treatments based on clinical features/psychopathology and collaborative research with other specialists in understanding the relation of somatic symptom disorders and functional somatic syndromes (FSS), and comparing psychotropics and non-psychotropics and combinations treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center