Combination treatment with clomipramine and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents
Figueroa Y, Rosenberg DR, Birmaher B, Keshavan MS
Department of Psychiatry,
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center,
Pennsylvania, USA.
J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 1998; 8(1): 61-7


Medication management of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has consisted of monotherapy with either clomipramine (CMI) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluvoxamine, paroxetine, or sertraline. Frequently, OCD patients receiving monotherapy experience low treatment response rates and problematic side effects that may result in discontinuation or noncompliance. This open-label case series presents 7 patients (6 male, 1 female) ages 9 to 23 years with OCD who were effectively treated with combination of CMI plus an SSRI. Treatment effects persisted through 5 to 22 months of follow-up from onset of combination therapy. The drug combination was effective in the 2 patients with OCD and no mood/anxiety comorbidity. Side effects appeared in 5 of 7 patients; cardiovascular side effects were the most common adverse effects. Two patients had prolongation of QTc intervals and 2 developed tachycardia while taking CMI and SSRI combinations. Other risks might include serotonin syndrome, manic switch, insomnia, and possibly headaches, EPS, and sexual dysfunction. Recommendations are made to monitor electrocardiograms, CMI blood concentrations, and vital signs in all cases because SSRIs can increase the blood levels of CMI and/or its active metabolite, desmethylclomipramine (DCMI). CMI could also potentially increase SSRI absorption and/or protein binding. The use of CMI and SSRI combination therapy was found to be more effective compared with their monotherapy in all 7 cases.
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