What is the role of serotonergic antidepressants in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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First-line serotonergic antidepressants for OCD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; (fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram) and clomipramine (Anafranil), a tricyclic antidepressant. SSRIs are generally preferred over clomipramine, as their adverse effect profiles are less prominent. Results of serotonergic antidepressant treatment are as follows:

  • Complete or near-complete remission of OCD symptoms is rare with monotherapy

  • Perhaps half of patients may experience symptom reductions of 30-50%

  • Many other patients fail to achieve even this degree of relief

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