A double-blind crossover comparison of clomipramine and desipramine in the treatment of panic disorder
Review articleOpen access

AbstractObjective: To compare the efficacy of clomipramine hydrochloride (CMI), a serotonin reuptake inhibitor with the noradrenergic tricyclic antidepressant agent, and desipramine hydrochloride (DMI) for patients with panic disorder (PD). Method: Following a 2-week, single-blind placebo washout phase, 17 PD outpatients completed a 16-week, double-blind, crossover comparison of CMI and DMI. Key outcome measures included panic attacks frequency, the NIMH Global Scales for Anxiety, Depression and Impairment, Hamilton Anxiety Scale (Psychic and Somatic Subscales), Zung Anxiety Inventory (Raw and Index Subscales) and the Spielberger State Anxiety Scale. Results: Both CMI and DMI led to significant improvement from baseline placebo state in panic attacks frequency and behavioral ratings (p<0.001). CMI led to a greater reduction in the frequency of panic attacks (p=0.028) and was superior to DMI on ratings of anxiety: NIMH Global Anxiety, Zung Anxiety Scale (Raw and Index) and the Spielberger Anxiety Scale. No difference was found between the drugs on the NIMH Global Impairment Scale and the Hamilton Somatic and Psychic Scales. Conclusion: Both drugs appeared to have significant therapeutic effects in patients with PD, but CMI appeared to be more effective. The effectiveness of the serotonergic drug suggests that the role of the serotonergic system in the pathogenesis of PD should be further explored.

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