Journal of Nepal Medical Association. 2017, 56 (206), 274-280
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects a significant proportion of those who have been exposed to exceptionally threatening or catastrophic events or situations such as earthquakes, rape and civil war. The condition can often become chronic and disabling. Medical intervention can therefore be of paramount importance. There are no national guidelines for trauma disorders in Nepal and there is a lack of adequate knowledge regarding drug treatment of PTSD among doctors and other service providers. Though psychotherapy is internationally regarded as the first line treatment for PTSD, it is often not feasible in Nepal due to lack of resources and skilled health workers in this field. The use of right psycho-pharmacotherapy is therefore important to reduce the burden of disease. A wide range of pharmacotherapy has been tested in the treatment of PTSD. This article is based on a selected sample of relevant articles from PubMed, PsycINFO, national guidelines from other countries and our own clinical experience. We have tried to give a concise and practical review regarding the use of drugs, their side effects and available evidence in the treatment of PTSD. The main findings point to use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors as the first line pharmacotherapy, and they can have effect on the full range of symptoms in PTSD. SNRIs show similar efficacy. Adjuvant drugs like Alpha-blockers and atypical antipsychotics have shown strong evidence in treating partially remitted cases and resolving ancillary symptoms.
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