BACKGROUND This study compared the efficacy and safety of sertraline to placebo in treating panic disorder.
METHOD 178 out-patients with panic disorder who exhibited at least four panic attacks during the four weeks prior to screening and three during the two weeks of lead-in were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of double-blind treatment with sertraline (50, 100 or 200 mg) or placebo.
RESULTS Sertraline was superior to placebo in reducing the number of panic attacks, situational attacks, unexpected attacks, limited symptom attacks, and time spent worrying (all P < 0.01) and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (P < 0.05), although Clinical Global Impression (Improvement) did not significantly differentiate groups at 12 weeks and at end-point. No serious adverse events were associated with sertraline. No dose relationship was found for adverse events; overall drop-out rates were not different for sertraline or placebo, although more sertraline-treated subjects discontinued for adverse events, typically early in the study. Only dry mouth and ejaculation failure (primarily ejaculation delay) were associated significantly with sertraline.
CONCLUSIONS Sertraline was effective and safe in reducing panic attacks. Higher doses were no more effective than the 50 mg dose.