Rationale: A growing number of controlled clinical trials suggest that different second-generation antidepressants (SGA) may be effective in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Objectives: The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of SGA in SAD and to investigate possible differences in their efficacy. Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of all double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trials involving second-generation antidepressants in adult patients with SAD published on PubMed/MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Current Controlled Trials databases until July 2009. Our analyses were based on changes in Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI), and standardized mean difference (SMD). Results: Twenty-seven controlled clinical trials, comprising ten different SGA, were selected. When comparing the reduction of LSAS scores, the group receiving active drugs showed a significantly greater reduction compared to those observed in the placebo group [pooled weighted mean -11.9 (IC 95% -14.5 to -9.4)]. The combined relative risk (RR) for the different drugs revealed a 62% increase in treatment response (final CGI 2) for those using SGAs, compared to those receiving placebo [RR 1.62 (95% CI 1.44-1.81)]. The combined SMD for the SGAs was -0.43 (IC 95% -0.49 to -0.37). Conclusion: Second-generation antidepressants are efficacious treatment for patients with SAD. However, our results do not suggest differences of efficacy among different drugs.
- Pharmacological treatment
- Second-generation antidepressants
- Social anxiety disorder
- Social phobia