Objective: To determine whether panic disorder is associated with elevated serum cholesterol levels. Serum cholesterol levels of panic disorder patients are reported to be elevated. This could explain the higher-than-expected cardiovascular mortality in this population. Some evidence exists wherein cholesterol levels are also increased in patients with general anxiety disorder and phobias. To date, there are only 2 reports on cholesterol levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients, giving controversial results.
Method: We compared serum cholesterol levels of anxiety disorder patients, OCD patients, and normal control subjects with each other (n = 60 in each group). Serum cholesterol was measured in each subject before treatment. Subjects of the 3 groups were matched by age and sex.
Results: Patients with anxiety disorders and OCD had elevated cholesterol levels, compared with normal control subjects. Cholesterol levels in OCD patients were comparable with those in patients with phobia.
Conclusions: Our data support the assumption that elevation in cholesterol level is not a specific feature of panic disorder (as most assumed), but more generally associated with anxiety disorders. Increased cholesterol levels in patients with anxiety disorders and OCD may be of clinical relevance.