Letters to the Editor

Sertraline in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Am Fam Physician. 1999 Jan 1;59(1):49.

to the editor: I am writing to bring to the attention of your readers an erroneous statement published in the article “Recognition and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”1 Information in Table 4 states that sertraline is “not FDA-labeled for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.” In fact, sertraline was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 25, 1996, for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The efficacy of sertraline in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder was initially demonstrated in three multicenter, placebo-controlled studies of adult outpatients.24 In all three of these studies, patients had moderate to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (according to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-III or DSM-III-R]), with mean baseline ratings on the Yale Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale ranging from 23 to 25.

Thus, the incorrect statement that sertraline is not indicated for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder should be deleted from Table 4, as sertraline has been recognized by the FDA since 1996 as an effective and safe treatment for obsessions and compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.


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1. Eddy MF, Walbroehl GS. Recognition and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am Fam Physician. 1998;57:1623–8....

2. Greist J, Chouinard G, DuBoff E, Halaris A, Kim SW, Koran L, et al. Double-blind parallel comparison of three dosages of sertraline and placebo in outpatients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995;52:289–95.

3. Chouinard G. A double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled study of sertraline in obsessive-compulsive disorder. 5th World Congress of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. June 9–14, 1991, Florence, Italy. Biol Psychiatry. 1991;29(11 Suppl):1S–777S.

4. Chouinard G, Goodman W, Greist J, Jenike M, Rasmussen S, White K, et al. Results of a double-blind placebo controlled trial of a new serotonin uptake inhibitor, sertraline, in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1990;26:279–84.

Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.



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