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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Study: Common PTSD Med Guanfacine As Effective As Placebo

In a study funded by support from the Department of Veterans Affairs and appearing in the December 1, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found:

Guanfacine, a medication commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, is no more effective than a placebo, according to a study led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

“There was no benefit at all, and there were several adverse side effects,” says lead author Thomas Neylan, MD, medical director of the PTSD treatment program at SFVAMC. “People with symptoms of PTSD should probably stay away from this drug and others of its type.”

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A few more details on the study:

The double-blind study compared the effects of guanfacine and an identical looking placebo pill on 63 male and female veterans at four VA medical centers in California and Hawaii. Twenty-nine participants were randomly assigned to take weekly doses of the drug, and 34 were assigned the placebo, for eight weeks.

At the end of the study, the effect of guanfacine on PTSD symptoms was “zero,” and there were no differences between men and women or older versus younger veterans. In addition, the subjects who took guanfacine had significantly more somnolence, lightheadedness, and dry mouth than those who took placebo. The study authors conclude, “These results do not support the use of alpha 2 agonists in veterans with chronic PTSD.”


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