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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996 Jun;16(3):218-22.

Paroxetine in the treatment of generalized social phobia: open-label treatment and double-blind placebo-controlled discontinuation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, St. Boniface General Hospital, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


We conducted an 11-week forced-escalation open-label study of paroxetine in the treatment of 36 patients with generalized social phobia. At the mean dosage of 47.9 +/- 6.2 mg/day, 23 of 30 completers (77%) were deemed responders on the basis of a clinician rating of either "very much improved" or "much improved" on the Clinical Global Impressions scale. Duke Social Phobia Scale ratings declined from 35.5 +/- 13.1 at baseline to 19.7 +/- 17.4 at week 11 (p < 0.0005), and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale ratings declined from 75.1 +/- 25.4 at baseline to 37.2 +/- 32.5 at week 11 (p < 0.0005). Sixteen responders were randomized to an additional 12 weeks of either paroxetine (with no dosage change) or placebo (after a taper period) on a double-blind basis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first controlled medication-discontinuation study in social phobia. One of eight patients randomized to continue paroxetine relapsed versus five of eight patients randomized to placebo. These findings call for a double-blind, placebo-controlled treatment study of paroxetine in generalized social phobia. They also suggest that relapse rates are high if medication is discontinued early and that further study is needed to determine (1) the optimal duration of maintenance pharmacotherapy for social phobia and (2) if specific psychotherapeutic interventions before medication discontinuation may prevent relapse.

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