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Evidence-based pharmacotherapy of panic disorder

Abraham Bakker, Anton J. L. M. van Balkom, Dan J. Stein
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1461145705005201 473-482 First published online: 1 September 2005


This paper reviews the literature on the pharmacotherapy of panic disorder, in order to address the questions (1) what is the first-line pharmacotherapy of choice for panic disorder?, (2) for how long should maintenance pharmacotherapy be continued, and (3) what is the optimal approach to the treatment-refractory patient with panic disorder. A medline search (1966–2003) was undertaken to collate randomized controlled trials of pharmacotherapy in panic disorder. A review of the evidence indicates that SSRIs are currently the first line agent of choice in panic disorder, and that pharmacotherapy should be continued for at least 1 year. There has been relatively little research on the pharmacotherapy of treatment-refractory panic disorder, and this area requires future attention.

Key words
  • Agoraphobia
  • panic disorder
  • pharmacotherapy
  • treatment