A Randomized, Naturalistic, Parallel-Group Study for the Long-Term Treatment of Panic Disorder With Clonazepam or Paroxetine


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Abstract

This long-term extension of an 8-week randomized, naturalistic study in patients with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia compared the efficacy and safety of clonazepam (n = 47) and paroxetine (n = 37) over a 3-year total treatment duration. Target doses for all patients were 2 mg/d clonazepam and 40 mg/d paroxetine (both taken at bedtime). This study reports data from the long-term period (34 months), following the initial 8-week treatment phase. Thus, total treatment duration was 36 months. Patients with a good primary outcome during acute treatment continued monotherapy with clonazepam or paroxetine, but patients with partial primary treatment success were switched to the combination therapy. At initiation of the long-term study, the mean doses of clonazepam and paroxetine were 1.9 (SD, 0.30) and 38.4 (SD, 3.74) mg/d, respectively. These doses were maintained until month 36 (clonazepam 1.9 [SD, 0.29] mg/d and paroxetine 38.2 [SD, 3.87] mg/d). Long-term treatment with clonazepam led to a small but significantly better Clinical Global Impression (CGI)–Improvement rating than treatment with paroxetine (mean difference: CGI-Severity scale −3.48 vs −3.24, respectively, P = 0.02; CGI-Improvement scale 1.06 vs 1.11, respectively, P = 0.04). Both treatments similarly reduced the number of panic attacks and severity of anxiety. Patients treated with clonazepam had significantly fewer adverse events than those treated with paroxetine (28.9% vs 70.6%, P < 0.001). The efficacy of clonazepam and paroxetine for the treatment of panic disorder was maintained over the long-term course. There was a significant advantage with clonazepam over paroxetine with respect to the frequency and nature of adverse events.

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