Open-label trial of riluzole in generalized anxiety disorder

Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;162(12):2379-81. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.162.12.2379.


Objective: There is a need to identify novel pharmacotherapies for anxiety disorders. The authors examined the safety and efficacy of riluzole, an antiglutamatergic agent, in adult outpatients with generalized anxiety disorder.

Method: In an 8-week, open-label, fixed-dose study, 18 medically healthy patients with DSM-IV generalized anxiety disorder received treatment with riluzole (100 mg/day) following a 2-week drug-free period. The primary efficacy measure was the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) score at endpoint.

Results: Twelve of the 15 patients who completed the trial responded positively to riluzole. At 8 weeks, eight of the 15 patients had HAM-A score indicating remission of their anxiety. The median time to response was 2.5 weeks.

Conclusions: Riluzole appears to be an effective, well-tolerated, and rapidly acting anxiolytic medication for some patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Larger, placebo-controlled studies are indicated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Riluzole / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Riluzole