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Reducing meds for OCD may yield better results


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is shared by more than 7 million people in the United States and many of them may be taking too much medication. The disorder is a mental illness that causes people to consistently worry and repeatedly perform certain ritualistic tasks. So people who worry about unseen germs may wash their hands over and over.

Less Lexapro may be more effective

Since OCD is an anxiety disorder, many doctors prescribe anti-depressants as a treatment. One such drug, escitalopram or Lexapro, is often prescribed to help alleviate some symptoms. A new study shows that high doses cause more side effects and less relief than lower doses.

20-40mg/day may be the optimal dosage

In a longitudinal study, researchers reviewed records from 246 patients with OCD who were taking escitalopram. They divided them into three groups: very high dose at more than 40mg/day, high dose between 20-40mg/day and standard dose at less than 20mg/day. The recommended dose is usually under 20mg but many doctors go off label and prescribe higher doses.

When researchers looked at the improvement of symptoms and life functioning, they found that patients on very high doses and high doses shared similar improvement results. The group with very high dose had more side effects. Both group showed significantly better improvement than the standard dose group.

Talk to your doctor first before changing doses

The resulting recommendation is that patients talk to their doctors about taking the high dose, between 20-40mg/day. Since this study is based on patient records and not actual people with real time results, further study will be needed.

Source: International Clinical Psychopharmacology

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