SSRIs quicker than SNRIs at improving anxiety symptoms in young people

Research has shown that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat paediatric anxiety disorders offer greater improvements than selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Boy having a tantrum

Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have been shown to be effective in paediatric anxiety disorders, responses are variable.

To better understand the effect of antidepressant class on outcomes, researchers carried out a meta-analysis of data from five trials of SSRIs and four trials of SNRIs in 1,673 young people with anxiety disorders[1]

They found that both SSRIs and SNRIs resulted in clinically significant improvement in symptom severity. However, SSRIs resulted in significantly greater improvements than SNRIs and this difference appeared from week 2 onwards.

The researchers, reporting in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (online, 7 February 2018), said the findings indicate that SSRIs may result in quicker and greater improvement in symptom severity in paediatric anxiety disorders than SNRIs.


[1] Strawn J, Mills J, Sauley B et al. The impact of antidepressant dose and class on treatment response in pediatric anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psych 2018;57:235–244. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.01.015

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, SSRIs quicker than SNRIs at improving anxiety symptoms in young people;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204656

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