Standard guidelines for OCD

July 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

A team of psychiatrists has developed new practical guidelines for treating patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A team of psychiatrists has developed new practical guidelines for treating patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The guidelines, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, are based on surveys of approximately 70 psychiatry and psychology experts. The guidelines make treatment recommendations and rank the available options in order of preference.

This is the third set of guidelines issued by a group led by the Duke University Medical Center. Earlier this year, the psychiatrists made recommendations regarding schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Solvay Pharmaceuticals funded the project and results were announced at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Diego in May.

Intended to standardize treatment and help practitioners prescribe the best treatments for their patients' diseases, the OCD guidelines are more user-friendly than currently available clinical guidelines, according to the researchers. Charts, graphs and colloquial terms describe preferred treatments so that patients can use them as well as doctors.

"A nice feature... is that all of the survey results are illustrated in an easy-to-understand format that allows the clinician to compare his or her own treatment strategies with those favored by experts," said Dr. Allen Frances, head of the Expert Consensus Guidelines Steering Committee and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Duke.

The researchers endorsed cognitive-behavioral therapy as the primary, first-line treatment. Surveyed experts concurred that they recommend weekly CBT sessions with homework assignments or out-of-the-office therapy.

They also agreed that seratonin reuptake inhibitors are the most effective medications for OCD. Four varieties of inhibitors are currently used and the guidelines rate the side effects of the products.

The researchers also stated that pharmacotherapy may be helpful for such as body dysmorphic disorder and bulimia. PR

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