Anxiety Disorders: Description and Etiology
No pharmacological treatment studies have been conducted in children and adolescents with cancer. Furthermore, evidence on pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders in pediatric patients without cancer is also limited. One meta-analysis of pediatric antidepressant clinical trials [Level of evidence: I] found antidepressants efficacious relative to placebo in the treatment of anxiety disorders, with strongest effects in non-obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) anxiety disorders (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder) and intermediate effects in OCD. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Depression for a discussion of the risk of suicidal ideation/suicide attempt associated with antidepressant use.)
In general, patients with cancer need to be encouraged to take enough medication to relieve anxiety. Medications are readily tapered and discontinued when symptoms subside. Concerns about addiction are exaggerated in patients with cancer and often interfere with adequate symptom relief.
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