Clinical predictors of drug nonresponse in obsessive-compulsive disorder

J Clin Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;66(12):1517-23. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v66n1204.


Objective: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often a chronic and disabling illness with high comorbidity. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) are effective in treating OCD. However, 40% to 60% of patients with OCD do not respond adequately to SRIs. This study aims to identify the clinical predictors of nonresponse to SRIs in OCD by comparing SRI responders and nonresponders.

Method: 122 subjects with a diagnosis of DSM-IV OCD of at least 1 year's duration and with treatment history of adequate trials with at least 2 SRIs were recruited from December 2002 to March 2004. Of these, 67 were SRI responders and 55 were SRI nonresponders; they were compared on various clinical parameters. Nonresponse was defined as a score of >/=3 on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement sub-scale (CGI-I) after at least 2 adequate trials with SRIs. Response was defined as a score of 1 or 2 on the CGI-I.

Results: In regression analysis, baseline severity of OCD (p = .049), comorbid major depressive disorder (p = .005), presence of sexual obsessions (p = .002), and washing (p = .008) and miscellaneous compulsions (p = .013) were identified as predictors of nonresponse to SRIs. Early age at onset showed a trend toward prediction of nonresponse (p = .056). In the univariate analysis, mixed OCD (p = .001) and poor insight (p = .023) were associated with nonresponse.

Conclusion: This study has identified clinical predictors of nonresponse to SRIs. These predictors may have to be taken into consideration and assessed carefully when SRIs are prescribed to treat OCD. Future studies should aim at identifying treatment modalities that are effective in SRI nonresponders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Comorbidity
  • Compulsive Behavior / epidemiology
  • Compulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Paraphilic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Paraphilic Disorders / psychology
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors