A randomized, controlled trial of aerobic exercise in combination with paroxetine in the treatment of panic disorder

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;11(7):904-13. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2010.489620.


Objectives: Regular aerobic exercise (running) has been shown to be superior to a pill placebo in the treatment of panic disorder. Combined drug and exercise treatment has not been investigated in randomized controlled studies to date.

Methods: This is a randomized, 10-week, controlled, parallel group, pilot study. A total of 75 outpatients with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (DSM-IV and ICD-10) received either (1) exercise plus paroxetine 40 mg/day (n=21), (2) relaxation plus paroxetine (n=17), (3) exercise plus pill placebo (n=20), or (4) relaxation plus pill placebo (n=17). Changes in the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale (P&A), and the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) underwent repeated measure analysis.

Results: Effects sizes were large for all groups (d=1.53-3.87), however not significantly different. Paroxetine-treated patients were significantly more improved than placebo-treated patients. On the CGI, patients in the exercise groups (plus paroxetine or placebo) had a trend toward better improvement compared to relaxation (P=0.06). Response and remission rates were higher in the paroxetine compared to pill placebo groups.

Conclusions: While paroxetine was superior to placebo, aerobic exercise did not differ from relaxation training in most efficacy measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia / diagnosis
  • Agoraphobia / psychology
  • Agoraphobia / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Panic Disorder / therapy*
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Running / psychology*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine