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Combo Treatment Best for Anxiety Disorder in Kids
Date:10/30/2008

Zoloft, cognitive behavior therapy also work well alone, study finds

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- For children with anxiety disorders, a combination of cognitive behavior therapy and the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) works better than either treatment alone, researchers report.

However, Zoloft or cognitive behavior therapy by themselves did work in more than half of the patients, according to a report in the Oct. 30 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The report is being published to coincide with a presentation of the findings at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting, in Chicago.

"For children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, there are three effective treatment choices," said study co-author Anne Marie Albano, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University in New York City. "What's important about this is families, in consultation with their doctors, can think through which is the best option for them to pursue."

Decisions on treatment can also be made on what's available in the local community, Albano said. "Some communities might not have access to some of these treatments," she said. For example, cognitive behavior therapy requires a specialist in the technique.

Another advantage of having several workable treatments is that treatment decisions can be made on the basis of preference, Albano noted. "Some families don't want to do one treatment versus another. So, families can make a decision based on preference. They might want to make the decision to go with both treatments, because the combination treatment did show an added benefit that the individual therapies don't have," she said.

For the study, Albano's team randomly assigned 488 children aged 7 to 17 with anxiety disorders to 12 weeks of treatment with one of four protocols. Some children were given cognitive behavior therapy, and o
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