Objective: The objective was to study the efficacy of sertraline on symptoms of psychic and somatic anxiety in patients suffering from moderate-to-severe generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Method: Out-patients with DSM-IV GAD were randomized to 12 weeks of double-blind treatment with placebo. The psychic and somatic anxiety factors of the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and the Quality of Life, Enjoyment, and Satisfaction Questionnaire were analyzed.
Results: Treatment with sertraline resulted in significantly greater last observation carried forward (LOCF)-endpoint improvement than placebo on both the HAM-A psychic and somatic anxiety factors. At LOCF-endpoint, all items on the HAM-A psychic factor were more improved on sertraline than placebo, as were three of seven items on the somatic factor. Reduction of secondary depressive symptoms was more correlated with endpoint improvement in quality of life than either psychic- or somatic anxiety.
Conclusion: Sertraline treatment demonstrated efficacy for both the psychic and somatic anxiety symptoms of GAD.