International prescribing practices in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD)

Vlasios Brakoulias, Vladan Starcevic, Amparo Belloch, Liliana Dell’Osso, Ygor A. Fer rão, Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Christine Lochner, Donatella Marazziti, Andrew Martin, Hisato Matsunaga, Euripedes Constantino Miguel, Yemmigannur Chandrashekhar Janardhan Reddy, Maria C. do Rosário, Roseli Gedanke Shavitt, Arumugham Shyam Sundar, Dan Joseph Stein, Kirupamani Viswasam

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Objectives: To assess rates of psychotropic medication use in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) in seven different countries on five continents and to compare these with international treatment guidelines. Methods: Researchers in the field of OCD were invited to contribute summary statistics on the characteristics of their patients with OCD and on their incidence of psychotropic use. Consistency of summary statistics across countries was evaluated. Results: The data came from Brazil (n = 955), Italy (n = 750), South Africa (n = 555), Japan (n = 382), Australia (n = 213), India (n = 202) and Spain (n = 82). The majority (77.9%; n = 2445) of the total sample of 3139 participants received a psychotropic medication. Consistent with international guidelines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were most commonly used (73.5%, n = 1796), but their use ranged from 59% in Australia to 96% in Japan. Clomipramine use varied from 5% in Japan and South Africa to 26% in India and Italy. Atypical antipsychotic use ranged from 12% in South Africa to 50% in Japan. Conclusions: Pharmacotherapy for OCD varied significantly across sites. Prospective studies are required to determine the cultural, pharmacoeconomic and pharmacogenomic factors that may play a role in the variation in prescribing practices internationally and whether these variations influence treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • antipsychotics
  • benzodiazepines
  • cross-cultural study
  • medication
  • obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • pharmacotherapy
  • selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors

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