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Br J Psychiatry. 1988 Nov;153:650-8.

Drugs and psychological treatments for agoraphobia/panic and obsessive-compulsive disorders: a review.

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Institute of Psychiatry, London.


In the short term, both antidepressants and exposure therapy usually improve agoraphobia/panic (AP) and obsessive-compulsive (OC) disorders and are accepted by most patients; psychological methods omitting exposure are not consistently helpful. Antidepressants have a broad-spectrum rather than specific anti-agoraphobia/panic or anti-obsessive-compulsive action. For long-term efficacy, there is good evidence for the value of exposure, but none for drugs. Because of relapse on ceasing drugs, and their side-effects, medication is less useful as the first line of treatment for chronic agoraphobia/panic or obsessive-compulsive disorder than is the lastingly helpful approach of exposure. Antidepressants are worth trying when patients refuse or fail with exposure therapy, or are dysphoric.

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