Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use in the treatment of the pediatric non-obsessive-compulsive disorder anxiety disorders

Laura Seidel, John T. Walkup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The non-OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) anxiety disorders in the pediatric population-separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia and others-are arguably the most common psychiatric disorders in this age group. Anxiety disorders, in addition to being common, also significantly impair the affected child at home, school, and with peers. A small developing evidence base suggests the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the pharmacological treatment of choice for pediatric non-OCD anxiety disorders. In clinical trials, SSRIs are often very effective in reducing symptoms and improving functioning and generally well tolerated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) review of the safety of antidepressants in the pediatric population suggest a small, but significant, increased relative risk for suicidality adverse events on antidepressant versus placebo. Despite the apparent increased risk, the larger magnitude of benefit of the SSRIs for pediatric non-OCD anxiety disorders compared to depression suggests the benefit/risk ratio for anxiety disorders is more favorable than that for depression. This paper will review available studies on the treatment of non-OCD childhood anxiety disorders with antidepressants, including the SSRIs, and discuss pertinent safety issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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