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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2016 Apr;36(2):147-52. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000462.

Systematic Review of Pharmacological and Behavioral Treatments for Skin Picking Disorder.

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From the *Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; †Yale Child Study Center, Yale University; ‡Connecticut Mental Health Center; and §Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT.


Skin picking disorder (SPD) is a newly recognized psychiatric disorder in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. A systematic review was conducted to assess the efficacy of pharmacological and behavioral interventions for SPD. Electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or uncontrolled trials involving at least 10 subjects that examined the efficacy of pharmacological and behavioral interventions for SPD. We examined the improvement associated with interventions compared with inactive control conditions in RCTs and improvement over time in uncontrolled trials and within the treatment arms of RCTs. We stratified studies on the basis of intervention type. Meta-analysis included 11 studies. All interventions (including inactive control conditions) demonstrated significant improvement over the course of short-term clinical trials in SPD. Only behavioral treatments demonstrated significant benefits compared with inactive control conditions. There was no evidence from RCTs that pharmacotherapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or lamotrigine were more effective at treating SPD than placebo. Our meta-analysis suggests that subjects with SPD show significant improvement during short-term trials, regardless of the efficacy of the underlying intervention. This finding suggests that uncontrolled trials are of particularly limited utility for assessing efficacy of treatments in SPD. Future research should concentrate on developing larger placebo-controlled RCTs to examine efficacy of novel pharmacological agents. In addition, research should focus on improving accessibility of behavioral treatments with demonstrated efficacy for SPD.

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