Long-term sertraline treatment of children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Oct;40(10):1175-81. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200110000-00011.


Objective: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of sertraline in the long-term treatment of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Method: Children (6-12 years; n= 72) and adolescents (13-18 years; n = 65) with DSM-III-R-defined OCD who had completed a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled sertraline study were given open-label sertraline 50 to 200 mg/day in this 52-week extension study. Concomitant psychotherapy was allowed during the extension study Outcome was evaluated by the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS), National Institute of Mental Health Global Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, and Clinical Global Impression Severity (CGI-S) and Improvement (CGI-I) scores.

Results: Significant improvement (p < .0001) was demonstrated on all four outcome parameters on an intent-to-treat analysis for the overall study population (n = 132), as well as the child and the adolescent samples. At endpoint, 72% of children and 61% of adolescents met response criteria (>25% decrease in CY-BOCS and a CGI-I score of 1 or 2). Significant (p < .05) improvements were also demonstrated from the extension study baseline to endpoint on all outcome parameters in those patients who received sertraline during the 12-week, double-blind acute study. Long-term sertraline treatment was well tolerated, and there were no discontinuations due to changes in vital signs, laboratory values, or electrocardiograms.

Conclusion: Sertraline (50-200 mg/day) was effective and generally well tolerated in the treatment of childhood and adolescent OCD for up to 52 weeks. Improvement was seen with continued treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sertraline / adverse effects
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline