Serum cholesterol level comparison: control subjects, anxiety disorder patients, and obsessive-compulsive disorder patients

Can J Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;47(6):557-61. doi: 10.1177/070674370204700608.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia / blood
  • Anxiety Disorders / blood*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluvoxamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / blood*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Panic Disorder / blood
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Cholesterol
  • Fluvoxamine