A randomized clinical trial of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), fluoxetine, and pill placebo in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: Treatment effects and long-term maintenance

Description

Objective: The relative short-term efficacy and long-term benefits of pharmacologic versus psychotherapeutic interventions have not been studied for PTSD. This study compared the efficacy of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, with a psychotherapeutic treatment, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and pill placebo and measured maintenance of treatment gains at 6-month follow-up. Method: 88 PTSD subjects diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria were randomly assigned to EMDR, fluoxetine, or pill placebo. They received 8 weeks of treatment and were assessed by blind raters posttreatment and at 6-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, DSM-IV version, and the secondary outcome measure was the Beck Depression Inventory-II. The study ran from July 2000 through July 2003. Results: The psychotherapy intervention was more successful than pharmacotherapy in achieving sustained reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms, but this benefit accrued primarily for adult-onset trauma survivors. At 6-month follow-up, 75.0% of adult-onset versus 33.3% of child-onset trauma subjects receiving EMDR achieved asymptomatic end-state functioning compared with none in the fluoxetine group. For most childhood-onset trauma patients, neither treatment produced complete symptom remission. Conclusions: This study supports the efficacy of brief EMDR treatment to produce substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma. It suggests a role for SSRIs as a reliable first-line intervention to achieve moderate symptom relief for adult victims of childhood-onset trauma. Future research should assess the impact of lengthier intervention, combination treatments, and treatment sequencing on the resolution of PTSD in adults with childhood-onset trauma.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Bessel A. van der Kolk
Joseph Spinazzola
Margarter E. Blaustein
James W. Hopper
Elizabeth K. Hopper
Deborah L. Korn
William B. Simpson

Original Work Citation

van der Kolk, B. A., Spinazzola, J., Blaustein, M. E., Hopper, J. W., Hopper, E. K., Korn, D. L., & Simpson, W. B. (2007, January). A randomized clinical trial of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), fluoxetine, and pill placebo in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: Treatment effects and long-term maintenance. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(1), 37-46. doi:10.4088/JCP.v68n0105

Collection

Citation

“A randomized clinical trial of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), fluoxetine, and pill placebo in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: Treatment effects and long-term maintenance,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 31, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17617.

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