People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, and images which the sufferer usually acknowledges as, at least in part, senseless. The obsessions may vary from mildly annoying to very disruptive. Approximately one of every 200 young persons have OCD to some degree.
Many adults with OCD have successfully lessened or eliminated their OCD symptoms by taking one of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) drugs. The SRIs were introduced as antidepressants but, like many other drugs, they have been found effective in treating other illnesses. SRIs have been used to treat OCD in young adults, but, until now, no study has scientifically demonstrated their effectiveness in OCD suffers in this age group.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study set out to determine if SRIs really do help children and adolescents with OCD. Nearly 200 OCD sufferers were enrolled in the study. Half received Zoloft (an SRI) and the other half a placebo. It took three weeks for improvement to occur. The improvement lasted for the duration of the study-eight weeks. Forty-two percent of those given the Zoloft showed an improvement compared to 26% of those receiving the placebo
Certain side effects were more common in those taking the Zoloft: 13% had insomnia, nausea, agitation, or tremor. Only 3% of the children receiving the placebo had any side effects.
For the children who experienced improvement of their OCD symptoms, the drug is safe and effective. The side effects, if any, disappear once the medicine is discontinued.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 11/25/98, pp. 1752-6.
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|Publication:||Pediatrics for Parents|
|Date:||Mar 1, 1999|
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