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Antipsychotic Drugs Offer No Extra Benefit Against PTSD

Antipsychotic drugs are not helpful in controlling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The VA conducted the study on veterans with PTSD, the most serious psychiatric condition among military personnel. The usual treatment for PTSD is an antidepressant, but there are symptoms that do not respond well to such medications. That’s why physicians frequently prescribe drugs such as risperidone or Seroquel when antidepressants don’t do the job.
To assess the effectiveness of such medications, nearly 300 veterans participated in a six-month placebo-controlled trial at 23 Veterans Administration outpatient medical centers. Those on risperidone in addition to their standard antidepressant medication did no better than those receiving placebo plus antidepressant. Side effects of the antipsychotic medication included weight gain, fatigue, drowsiness, low libido, drooling, nasal congestion and breathing problems. The bottom line appears to be that risperidone was ineffective in reducing PTSD symptoms or improving quality of life.
[JAMA Aug. 3, 2011]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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