Background: Depression and anxiety are common disorders and have substantially overlapping symptom complexes. Not surprisingly, treatment approaches are similar for both conditions with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as the initial therapy of choice. However, after first line treatments have been deployed, residual symptoms are often problematic. Augmentation strategies to address these difficulties are an area of active investigation. This study assessed aripiprazole as adjunctive therapy to SSRIs for patients with persistent anxiety symptoms complicating a depression or anxiety disorder. Methods: Ten patients who had been receiving SSRIs for at least 6 weeks, but still had clinically significant anxiety symptoms, were enrolled in an open label, flexibly-dosed study of adjunctive aripiprazole. Clinical status was assessed with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Montgomery Asberg Rating Scale (MADRS), and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Results: Eighty percent of the subjects had a greater than 50% reduction of symptoms on these outcome measures by week 2 of therapy, and continued with further decrements in symptoms throughout the course of the study. Conclusions: The results of this trial provide preliminary evidence that aripiprazole may be an effective adjunctive treatment in individuals on SSRIs with residual symptoms of anxiety or depression. More rigorous double-blind studies are warranted to confirm and elucidate the potential role of aripiprazole in these conditions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Jessie Breyer for assistance with data collection and analysis. This investigator initiated trial was funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
- Clinical trail