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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

Anxiously Awaited News: Antidepressant Effectively Relieves Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

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Participants were allowed to increase or decrease their dose as needed, depending on their reaction to the drug. About 20% of the patients in the trial suffered nausea, the most common side effect, and patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors for depression should avoid Effexor XR because of the danger of drug interaction.

At the end of study, which was sponsored by Wyeth-Ayerst, the drug's manufacturer, tests to measure anxiety showed that those taking Effexor XR were much improved over the six-month period. Although some patients had improvement in anxiety symptoms shortly after beginning to take the drug, the majority of patients experienced improvements after taking the drug for two months.

Stephen Stahl, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, says that the study findings should send a clear message to generalized anxiety sufferers who may be tempted to give up early in treatment: "You can get much better from [generalized anxiety] ... if you wait."

Vital Information:

  • Researchers are showing that the antidepressant Effexor XR gives long-term relief from generalized anxiety disorder, a mental health condition that makes people feel constantly worried over everyday problems. It affects about 5% of Americans today, and two in three patients are women.
  • Test subjects receiving the drug did better after six months than those not getting it, leading an observer to say that patients should be willing to stick with this therapy in order to get good long-term results.
  • Patients tend to have generalized anxiety for life but can benefit after taking Effexor XR for two months. Some patients can't use this medicine because it can cause side effects like nausea and can have bad interactions with other drugs.
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