Cochrane Summaries

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Medication for post traumatic stress disorder

Stein DJ, Ipser JC, Seedat S
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs after exposure to significant trauma and results in enormous personal and societal costs. Although traditionally treated with psychotherapy, there is increasing recognition of a theoretical basis for medication treatments. This was a systematic review of 35 short-term randomised controlled trials of pharmacotherapy for PTSD (4597 participants). A significantly larger proportion of patients responded to medication (59.1%) than to placebo (38.5%) (13 trials, 1272 participants). Symptom severity was significantly reduced in 17 trials (2507 participants). The largest trials showing efficacy were of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, with long-term efficacy also observed for these medications.