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* Review of studies published between 1985 and 2006 on the pharmacological treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials
* Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) generally have the best evidence of support as first-line treatment for both OCD and non-OCD anxiety disorders
A review of studies of pharmacological treatments for childhood anxiety disorders has found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) offer a good option for both obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and non-OCD anxiety disorders. However, there remains a dearth of research evidence in several critical areas, including a lack of comparative head-to-head studies of medications and uncertainty over the proper duration of medication treatments for childhood anxiety.
Shauna P. Reinblatt and Mark A. Riddle of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported the findings of their research review in the journal Psychopharmacology. The remaining unanswered questions about pediatric treatments constitute clinically important issues, in that an estimated 6 to 18% of children and adolescents are believed to be affected by pediatric anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia.
"On the longitudinal course of treatment, there is a lot of work left to be done there," Reinblatt told The Update.
Reinblatt and Riddle identifed relevant studies of the pharmacological treatment of childhood anxiety disorders that were conducted between 1985 and 2006. They attempted to emphasize findings from randomized, placebo-controlled trials, although because there is a general scarcity of these types of studies for pediatric anxiety disorders, they also incorporated into the latter half of their analysis other studies that did not meet their strict criteria for inclusion.