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J Adv Res. 2016 Mar;7(2):169-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jare.2015.05.001. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Review of available studies of the neurobiology and pharmacotherapeutic management of trichotillomania.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL 60628, USA.


Trichotillomania (TTM) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to pull out one's hair. Currently there are no FDA approved treatments for TTM, which makes it difficult for clinicians to select an appropriate therapeutic plan. The clinical studies that have been performed do not provide sufficient or consistent evidence regarding which drug classes should be administered. Unfortunately, most of the available data consist of case reports and clinical trials with limited sample size. This review provides an overview of currently available clinical literature that targets TTM. A summary of clinical trials as well as case reports is provided. The most common rating scales used for clinical assessment are also reviewed. The etiology of TTM remains unclear. Studies that examine various neuroanatomical, neurobiologic, as well as genetic factors associated with TTM are thoroughly discussed in this review. It is evident that clear understanding of TTM is crucial to provide better recognition, assessment, and treatment to patients of this disorder. Finally, despite research efforts for establishing pharmacological options for treatment, it is clear that new targets are warranted in order to ensure a clinically supported effective pharmacological approach to treat TTM.


Clinical trials; Neurobiology; Rating scales; Trichotillomania (TTM)

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