Remission After Acute Treatment in Children and Adolescents With Anxiety Disorders: Findings From the CAMS

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Abstract

Objective: To report on remission rates in anxious youth who participated in the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS). The CAMS, a multisite clinical trial, randomized 488 children and adolescents (ages 7–17 years; 79% Caucasian; 50% female) with separation, social, and/or generalized anxiety disorder to a 12-week treatment of sertraline (SRT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), their combination (COMB), or clinical management with pill placebo (PBO). Method: The primary definition of remission was loss of all study-entry anxiety disorder diagnoses; additional definitions of remission were used. All outcomes were rated by independent evaluators blind to treatment assignment. Predictors of remission were also examined. Results: Remission rates after 12 weeks of treatment ranged from 46% to 68% for COMB, 34% to 46% for SRT, 20% to 46% for CBT, and 15% to 27% for PBO. Rates of remission (i.e., achieving a nearly symptom-free state) were significantly lower than rates of response (i.e., achieving a clinically meaningful improvement relative to baseline) for the entire sample. Youth who received COMB had significantly higher rates of remission compared to all other treatment groups. Both monotherapies had higher remission rates compared to PBO, but rates were not different from each other. Predictors of remission were younger age, nonminority status, lower baseline anxiety severity, absence of other internalizing disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression), and absence of social phobia. Conclusions: For the majority of children, some symptoms of anxiety persisted, even among those showing improvement after 12 weeks of treatment, suggesting a need to augment or extend current treatments for some children.

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