Treatment of generalised anxiety disorder with a short course of psychological therapy, combined with buspirone or placebo

J Affect Disord. 2002 Dec;72(3):267-71. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(01)00469-4.


Background: Very few studies have examined the combination of drug and psychological treatment in generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Theoretically, buspirone should be a useful drug to combine with a learning-based therapy.

Methods: Sixty patients with GAD were randomly assigned to treatment with buspirone or placebo, combined with anxiety management training or non-directive therapy for a period of 8 weeks.

Results: Forty-four patients with a mean Hamilton Anxiety Scale score of 28 completed treatment. There were no significant differences between treatment groups. All groups showed significant improvement after 8 weeks compared to baseline. There were no baseline differences between those who completed the trial and those who did not but patients given buspirone were more likely to drop out.

Conclusions: A short course of psychological therapy, whether or not accompanied by active medication, was an effective treatment for patients diagnosed as having quite severe symptoms of GAD. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS: Dropouts led to a sample size which may have been too small to detect group differences. Cognitive therapy may have been more effective.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Buspirone / administration & dosage
  • Buspirone / pharmacology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Placebos
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Placebos
  • Buspirone