Treatment of social phobia with antidepressants

J Clin Psychiatry. 2001:62 Suppl 1:43-8; discussion 49.


This article reviews evidence for the utility of antidepressant medications in the treatment of social phobia. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) were the first antidepressants shown to be effective for social phobia, but dietary restrictions and a relatively high rate of adverse effects often relegate MAOIs to use after other treatments have been found ineffective. Reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase (RIMAs) hold promise as safer alternatives to MAOIs, but RIMAs may be less effective and are currently unavailable in the United States. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which paroxetine has been the best studied in social phobia to date, have recently emerged as a first-line treatment for the generalized subtype of social phobia. The SSRIs are well tolerated and consistently have been shown to be efficacious in controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Approval
  • Humans
  • Moclobemide / therapeutic use
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use
  • Phenelzine / therapeutic use
  • Phobic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Piperidines
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine
  • brofaromine
  • Phenelzine
  • Moclobemide