Objective: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) shows relatively delayed responses to pharmacotherapy when compared to other anxiety disorders. Therefore, more effective early therapeutic decisions can be made if the therapeutic response is predictable as early as possible. We studied whether the therapeutic response at 12 weeks is predictable based on the early improvement with escitalopram at 1 week.
Methods: The subjects were 28 outpatients diagnosed with SAD. The subjects took 10-20 mg/day of escitalopram. The results of the Liebowitz social anxiety scale (LSAS), Hamilton anxiety rating scale, and Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale were evaluated at 0, 1, 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment. Early improvement was defined as a ≥10% reduction in the LSAS total at 1 week of treatment, and endpoint response was defined as a ≥35% reduction in the LSAS total score. The correlation between clinical characteristics and therapeutic responses was analyzed by simple linear regression. The correlation between early improvement responses and endpoint responses was analyzed by multivariate logistic regression analysis and receiver operating characteristic curves.
Results: When we adjusted the influence of a ≥35% reduction in the LSAS total endpoint score on a ≥10% reduction of the LSAS total score at 1 week of treatment for the patients' age, the early improvement group at 1 week of treatment was expected to show stronger endpoint responses compared to the group with no early improvement.
Conclusion: The results suggest that a ≥10% reduction in the LSAS total score in a week can predict endpoint treatment response.
Keywords: Drug therapy; Escitalopram; Social phobia.