From the Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.
In this issue of THE JOURNAL, March et al1
report the results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
of sertraline hydrochloride for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder
(OCD) in children and adolescents. This article is gratifying in several ways.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder has its onset in childhood or adolescence in
approximately 50% of cases, and at least half of these cases benefit significantly
from drug treatment.2 The study by March et
al1 now extends to 3 the number of serotonin
uptake–inhibiting drugs that have been demonstrated to be effective
in children and adolescents in large multicenter trials. The others are clomipramine3 and fluvoxamine,4 and
these 3 agents now have US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for
use in children and adolescents. In addition, 1 other selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine, has been shown to be effective for childhood
OCD in small controlled trials.5 Because OCD
is highly treatable, general practitioners, pediatricians, dermatologists,
and other specialists who treat children should be alert for children with
senseless and repetitive thoughts and behaviors that typically deal with grooming,
contamination, or danger.2
Rapoport JL. Child Psychopharmacology Comes of Age. JAMA. 1998;280(20):1785–1786. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1785
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