Benzodiazepines versus placebo for panic disorder in adults

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Background Panic disorder is characterised by recurrent unexpected panic attacks consisting of a wave of intense fear that reaches a peak within a few minutes. Panic disorder is a common disorder, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 1% to 5% in the general population and a 7% to 10% prevalence in primary care settings. Its aetiology is not fully understood and is probably heterogeneous. Panic disorder is treated with psychological and pharmacological interventions, often used in combination. Although benzodiazepines are frequently used in the treatment of panic disorder, guidelines recommend antidepressants, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as first-line treatment for panic disorder, particularly due to their lower incidence of dependence and withdrawal reaction when compared to benzodiazepines. Despite these recommendations, benzodiazepines are widely used in the treatment of panic disorder, probably because of their rapid onset of action. Objectives To assess the efficacy and acceptability of benzodiazepines versus placebo in the treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia in adults. Search methods We searched the Cochrane CommonMental Disorders Controlled Trials Register (CCMDCTR Studies and References), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL),MEDLINE (1950-), Embase (1974-), and PsycINFO (1967-) up to 29May 2018. We handsearched reference lists of relevant papers and previous systematic reviews. We contacted experts in the field for supplemental data. Selection criteria All double-blind (blinding of patients and personnel) controlled trials randomising adults with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia to benzodiazepine or placebo.




Breilmann, J., Girlanda, F., Guaiana, G., Barbui, C., Cipriani, A., Castellazzi, M., … Koesters, M. (2019, March 28). Benzodiazepines versus placebo for panic disorder in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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