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November 1987

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Israeli Combat Veterans: Effect of Phenelzine Treatment

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Mental Health, Israel Defense Force, Tel Hashomer (Drs Bleich and Kotler and Mss Hertzberg and Levin); the Department of Research, Jerusalem Mental Health Center-Ezrath Nashim Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Dr Lerer); Sackler Medical School, Tel-Aviv University (Dr Bleich); and the Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba (Dr Garb).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(11):976-981. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800230056010

• Twenty-five Israeli combat veterans fulfilling DSM-III criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) participated in an open, prospective trial of phenelzine sulfate administration (median daily dose, 60 mg; range, 30 to 90 mg); three patients withdrew early due to side effects. Treatment was continued for at least four weeks in 22 cases and thereafter for as long as it was felt to be of benefit. Therapeutic efficacy was rated using a new PTSD scale, the Hamilton Depression Scale, and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale administered at four weekly intervals. Six patients completed four to eight weeks of phenelzine treatment; seven patients, nine to 13 weeks; and nine patients, 14 to 18 weeks. Comparison of mean prediscontinuation scores with pretreatment ratings showed, at best, only small (23% to 38%) differences (on the PTSD and Hamilton Anxiety scales) in the group treated for nine to 13 weeks. Two patients with a concurrent diagnosis of panic disorder and two with a concurrent diagnosis of dysthymic disorder were the most improved symptomatically but fell short of clinically significant remission. Although statistically significant improvement was observed on seven of the 12 items of the PTSD scale, sleep disturbance was the only symptom showing a clinically impressive change. These results only partially support previous positive reports of phenelzine treatment of PTSD.