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Olanzapine Augmentation of Fluoxetine for Refractory Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Placebo Controlled Study

Published:September 03, 2005DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.005

      Background

      There has been little systematic study of “next-step” interventions for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who remain symptomatic despite initial pharmacotherapy. We present one of the first randomized controlled trials for refractory GAD, comprising double blind augmentation with olanzapine or placebo for patients remaining symptomatic on fluoxetine.

      Methods

      Patients remaining symptomatic after 6 weeks of fluoxetine (20 mg/day) were randomized to 6 weeks of olanzapine (mean dose 8.7 ± 7.1 mg/day) or placebo augmentation.

      Results

      Twenty-four of 46 fluoxetine-treated patients were randomized. Olanzapine resulted in a greater proportion of treatment responders based on a Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale (CGI-S) end point score of 1 or 2 (Fisher’s exact test [FET] p < .05) or a 50% reduction in Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA-A) score (FET p < .05). There were no other statistically significant differences for olanzapine compared with placebo augmentation in outcome measures, though rates of remission (HAM-A ≤ 7) on olanzapine were higher at the level of a trend (FET, p = .1). Average weight gain for completers was greater with olanzapine than placebo augmentation (11.0 ± 5.1 vs. −0.7 ± 2.4 pounds: t = 6.32, p < .001).

      Conclusions

      Olanzapine may have a salutary effect on anxiety for some GAD patients remaining symptomatic despite initial serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy, but the emergence of significant weight gain represents an important clinical consideration.

      Key Words

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