Pharmacological treatment is widely used for post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) despite questions over its efficacy.
To determine the efficacy of all types of pharmacotherapy, as
monotherapy, in reducing symptoms of PTSD, and to assess
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials was
undertaken; 51 studies were included.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were found to be statistically
superior to placebo in reduction of PTSD symptoms but the effect size was
small (standardised mean difference −0.23, 95% CI −0.33 to −0.12). For
individual pharmacological agents compared with placebo in two or more
trials, we found small statistically significant evidence of efficacy for
fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine.
Some drugs have a small positive impact on PTSD symptoms and are
acceptable. Fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine may be considered as
potential treatments for the disorder. For most drugs there is inadequate
evidence regarding efficacy for PTSD, pointing to the need for more
research in this area.