Prospective study to evaluate the efficacy of aripiprazole as a monotherapy in patients with severe chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: an open trial.
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The objective of the study was to assess the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole in outpatients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on a 12-week, open-label trial. Twenty-two subjects with DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD participated; 16 were combat veterans. The primary outcome measure was PTSD symptom severity assessed with the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Secondary outcome measures included the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Scales. All subjects had a CAPS score of > or = 60 at baseline. Lifetime history of psychotic disorders or bipolar illness was exclusionary. The overall analysis across time was Repeated Measures ANOVA, using Bonferroni corrections. Fourteen subjects completed 12 weeks of treatment. Eight subjects dropped-out due to side effects. For patients who discontinued, missing values were estimated using "the last observation carried forward" method. Significant improvements were seen on: CAPS total, all its subscales, positive symptoms, anxiety and depression scores. Fourteen participants were classified as responders, defined by 20% or greater improvement on CAPS total score. Of the 13 subjects who completed final ratings, CAPS total scores improved significantly (P = .011). Two subjects attained remission of PTSD (CAPS < 20), and three had a final CAPS < or = 26. The mean daily dose of aripiprazole was 12.95 mg. The most common side effects were somnolence (54.5%), restlessness (50%), insomnia (36.4%), and asthenia (31.8%). These results indicate that aripiprazole was effective in about two thirds of subjects that tolerated this medication. The initially high dropout rate may be related to intolerability due to a high starting dose (10 mg), suggesting beginning treatment at lower doses. These preliminary results are encouraging; a double blind study seems warranted.