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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

An open-label study of levetiracetam for the treatment of social anxiety disorder.

OBJECTIVE: Social anxiety disorder is a disabling condition characterized by excessive fear and avoidance of social and performance situations. While a variety of effective pharmacotherapies exists, many patients do not fully respond to or tolerate available agents. Preclinical and early clinical experience with levetiracetam, a novel anticonvulsant agent, suggests that levetiracetam has anxiolytic properties and a favorable adverse event profile. Levetiracetam thus warrants systematic evaluation as a treatment option for anxiety disorders. METHOD: Twenty adult outpatients who were recruited through advertisement and clinical referral and who met DSM-IV criteria for social anxiety disorder, generalized type, participated in this 8-week open-label, flexible-dose study from November 2002 to December 2003. Participants were required to have scores of >/= 50 on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) and >/= 4 on the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness scale (CGI-S) at baseline. The presence of comorbid depression and anxiety disorders were permitted as long as social anxiety disorder was the primary disorder. Levetiracetam was initiated at 250 mg/day for the first week and flexibly titrated up to a maximum of 3000 mg/day (1500 mg b.i.d.). The primary outcome measure was change in the LSAS score at endpoint. RESULTS: There was a clinically significant 20.5-point decrease in LSAS scores in the intent-to-treat, last-observation-carried-forward analysis (t = 3.1; p <.01, N = 20). There were also significant reductions in CGI-S (p <.01) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (p <.02) scores. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study supports the safety and potential efficacy of a novel agent, levetiracetam, for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Larger controlled trials are warranted to confirm these results.[1]


  1. An open-label study of levetiracetam for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Simon, N.M., Worthington, J.J., Doyle, A.C., Hoge, E.A., Kinrys, G., Fischmann, D., Link, N., Pollack, M.H. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. (2004) [Pubmed]
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