Pharmacotherapy of somatoform disorders

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):455-60. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00631-7.


Objective: This paper reviews the published literature on the pharmacologic management of somatoform disorders.

Methods: Using Medline, the author identified all articles published between 1970 and 2003 on this topic, selecting the best-designed studies for inclusion.

Results: The review reveals that patients with the obsessional cluster of somatoform disorders (hypochondriasis and body dysmorphic disorder [BDD]) respond well to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). Less is known about the pharmacologic responsiveness of patients with the primarily somatic cluster of somatoform disorders (somatization, pain), a patient group that is common in the health provider's office.

Conclusions: Improvements in the design of future clinical trials are needed. A particular focus needs to be applied to study the neglected area of the pharmacologic treatment of syndromal and subsyndromal somatization and pain disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Somatoform Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors