Bandelow B, Boerner J R, Kasper S, Linden M, Wittchen HU, Möller HJ
Dtsch Arztebl Int 2013 Apr;110(17):300-9; quiz 310
BACKGROUND: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common and serious disease with a lifetime prevalence of 4.3% to 5.9%. It is underdiagnosed in primary care.
METHODS: Recommendations on the treatment of GAD are given on the basis of all available findings from pertinent randomized trials, retrieved by a selective search of the literature.
RESULTS: Among psychotherapeutic techniques, various kinds of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been found useful in controlled trials. The drugs of first choice include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and the calcium-channel modulator pregabalin. Tricyclic antidepressants are also effective but have more adverse effects than SSRIs. Although benzodiazepines are effective anxiolytic agents for short-term use, they should not be given over the long term because of the danger of addiction. Buspirone, an azapirone, was found to be effective in a small number of trials, but the findings across trials are inconsistent. The response rate of GAD to CBT in published studies lies between 47% and 75%, while its response rate to drug treatment lies between 44% and 81%.
CONCLUSION: The treatment of GAD with CBT and drugs is evidence-based and has a good chance of improving the manifestations of the disorder.