Fluoxetine efficacy in social phobia.
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BACKGROUND: To determine the efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of social phobia, fluoxetine was administered to 16 patients with a primary DSM-III-R diagnosis of social phobia in a 12-week, open, clinical trial. METHOD: Treatment began at 20 mg of fluoxetine daily and was increased according to clinical response and side effects every 4 weeks. Patients completed self-report measures of anxiety and depression at baseline and at Weeks 4, 8, and 12. These included the Beck Depression Inventory, the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Fear Questionnaire, the Social Anxiety Thoughts Questionnaire, and the Social Adjustment Scale-Self-Report. Clinicians completed a Clinical Global Improvement Scale. RESULTS: Thirteen of the 16 patients completed the trial. Three patients (18.8%) were unable to complete the trial due to adverse side effects. Of the 13 (81.2%) remaining patients, 10 were considered to be responders and 3 were considered to be nonresponders. Measures of social anxiety and phobic avoidance showed a significant improvement from baseline to endpoint, achieving a significance of p < .005. Responders to fluoxetine were more likely to have been older at onset of the social phobic symptoms and had a shorter duration of illness. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that fluoxetine may be effective in the treatment of social phobia. Double-blind studies will be required to further investigate these findings.