Objective: To determine the prognosis in 86 new patients with social anxiety disorder.
Method: Untreated subjects with social anxiety were recruited by advertising in Stockholm, randomized to 3 months treatment with paroxetine or placebo, and then offered continued specialist care. Metabolizing capacity was determined by genotyping CYP2D6 in the subjects on paroxetine. After a mean 32 months all were contacted for a personal interview.
Results: Of the 92 evaluable subjects, 86 (93%) were interviewed. A favourable prognosis was seen in the subjects randomized to paroxetine who chose to continue with serotonergic medication. The least favourable prognosis was in those given placebo who chose not to be treated after the trial. Twenty-four subjects were still symptomatic and dysfunctional and had not sought treatment. Drug-induced adverse effects caused treatment termination in six subjects, one of whom had a poor metabolizing genotype.
Conclusion: Due to their condition, some subjects with social anxiety refrain from effective treatments. The efficacy of serotonergic medication was maintained and augmented after a mean period of 32 months.