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The efficacy and safety of alprazolam versus other benzodiazepines in the treatment of panic disorder.

Author(s): Moylan S, Staples J, Ward SA, Rogerson J, Stein DJ, Berk M.

Affiliation(s): School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. steven.moylan@deakin.edu.au

Publication date & source: 2011, J Clin Psychopharmacol. , 31(5):647-52

We performed a meta-analysis of all single- or double-blind, randomized controlled trials comparing alprazolam to another benzodiazepine in the treatment of adult patients meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third or Fourth Edition, criteria for panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks. Eight studies met inclusion criteria, describing a total of at least 631 randomized patients. In the pooled results, there were no significant differences in efficacy between alprazolam and the comparator benzodiazepines on any of the prespecified outcomes: improvement in mean panic attack frequency (between-arm weighted mean difference of 0.6 panic attacks per week; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.3 to 1.6), improvement in Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale score (weighted mean difference of 0.8 points; 95% CI, -0.5 to 2.1), and proportion of patients free of panic attacks at the final evaluation (pooled relative risk, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9-1.4). Statistical heterogeneity on prespecified outcomes was not eliminated by stratification on baseline anxiety level. The available evidence fails to demonstrate alprazolam as superior to other benzodiazepines for the treatment of panic disorder.

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