First multicenter study to demonstrate long-term efficacy of an antidepressant in preventing relapse
CHICAGO, IL, USA - 16 May 2000 - Therapy with the antidepressant sertraline HCl (ZOLOFT®) prevents relapse and the re-emergence of symptoms in patients with generalized social phobia, according to results from a 44-week study presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
"While we know the effectiveness of short-term treatment for patients with generalized social phobia, this study - the longest controlled follow-up to date- demonstrates that patients can benefit and reduce their risk of relapse from long-term treatment with sertraline," said lead investigator Michael Van Ameringen, M.D., FRCP(C), co-director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation and assistant professor, Psychiatry and Neurosciences Medicine for McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder) is the third most common psychiatric disorder in the United States, after depression and alcohol dependence and affects one out of every eight Americans. The disorder is slightly more common in women than in men and may be hereditary, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Social phobia is characterized by the fear of scrutiny by other people or by a persistent fear of humiliation or embarrassment in social or performance situations, which leads to either avoidance of the situation or feelings of intense distress during the situation. Common social phobic situations include speaking in public, meeting new people or eating in public. When put in these social situations, people with social phobia may experience symptoms including a rapid heartbeat, trembling, muscle tension or sweating, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
"Patients with generaliz