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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


ONTIVEROS SANCHEZ DE LA BARQUERA, José Alfonso. Double-blind controlled study with clonazapam and placebo in social anxiety disorder. Salud Ment [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.4, pp.299-306. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction Social anxiety disorder or social phobia affects approximately 4.7% of the general population as shown in Mexican epidemiological studies and studies done in other countries. The symptoms of this disorder are more frequent in women (5.4%) than in men (3.8%) and younger people (18 to 29 years), with an average onset age of 13 years. The main clinical characteristic of social phobia is an intense and irrational fear to be exposed to social situations. Social phobia emerges to anticipate or be submitted into situations where the subject could be evaluated or be observed by others. Treatment of social phobia is important because this disorder has been associated with an increase rate of suicidal intents, financial dependency and psychiatric comorbidity. Pharmacological treatment of social phobia includes SSRI and MAOI antidepressants and benzodiacepines. For the treatment of social phobia, potent benzodiacepines, such as alprazolam and clonazepam, have showed efficacy in several studies. In 1993 Davidson et al. published the first double-blind controlled study with clonazepam in patients with social phobia. They found that patients using clonazepam showed an improvement from the first week of treatment and that improvement persisted during the study and was superior to placebo. The objective of the present study was to improve our knowledge about the efficacy and tolerability of clonazepam in patients with social phobia. We studied a group of social phobic patients during 24 weeks in a double-blind treatment study with clonazepam and placebo. Patients took one week single-blind of placebo, followed by 16 weeks of double-blind treatment with clonazepam or placebo. During the first six weeks of the double-blind treatment, dosage was adjusted looking for maximal improvement and tolerability. After this phase we selected only those patients who improved and they were treated double-blind for 10 more weeks with clonazepam or placebo. Discontinuation of treatment was done in a period of two weeks during which clonazepam was changed to placebo and then patients followed with a four weeks of single-blind treatment with placebo. Methods All patients signed consent forms for the study which was approved by our hospital Ethical Committee. Patients were selected from those who looked for help in our Anxiety and Depression Research Clinic or by newspaper advertising. All candidate patients were interviewed with the SCID-I Anxiety Disorders section for DSM-III-R diagnosis of social phobia. Also, patients had to rank in the PARS scale a higher score in the Social phobia section than in the Separation phobia section. Also, patients included had to have at least a moderate severity of social anxiety disorder. Exclusion criteria required that patients had not had any other psychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression, history of abuse or addiction to alcohol or drugs, eating disorders and anxiety disorders as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, patients needed to be free of any psychotropic medication. A two week of discontinuation phase was conducted with patients receiving benzodiacepines or antidepressants (six weeks for fluoxetine). From a total of 85 patients (78% males and 22% females), 62 were admitted in the fist single-blind week of placebo. Mean age of patients included (± DS) was 28.17 (8.95) years (79 % male and 79% single). Of them, nine patients (14.5%) showed a placebo response and were not admitted to the double-blind treatment phase. A clinical evaluation of the patients was carried out on each visit with the Clinical Global Impression of severity and improvement of eight points for the Global severity of social phobia, Anticipatory anxiety and Phobic avoidance, the Hamilton anxiety and COVI scales, the Liebowitz Social Phobic Disorder Rating Form (LSPD) and the Hamilton depression and Raskin scales. Also, patients completed on each visit the Global impression of severity and improvement of 8 points, the Liebowitz social anxiety scale (LSAS), the Marks' fear questionnaire and an Incapacity score. Patients were evaluated each week for the first four weeks of double-blind treatment and later each two weeks.

Palabras llave : Social phobia; treatment; clonazepam; placebo.

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