Generalised anxiety disorder

BMJ Clin Evid. 2011 Oct 27:2011:1002.


Introduction: Up to one in five people may have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) at some point, and most have other health problems. Less than half of people have full remission after 5 years. GAD may have a genetic component, and has also been linked to previous psychological or other trauma.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for GAD? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2011 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 74 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: abecarnil, antidepressants (duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, imipramine, opipramol, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine), antipsychotic drugs (trifluoperazine), applied relaxation, benzodiazepines, buspirone, cognitive behavioural therapy, hydroxyzine, and pregabalin.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Buspirone* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyzine* / therapeutic use
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Sertraline
  • Buspirone