The use of psychotropic agents for the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Vlasios Brakoulias*, Vladan Starcevic, David Berle, Denise Milicevic, Karen Moses, Anthony Hannan, Peter Sammut, Andrew Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To describe the use of psychotropic agents in a sample of subjects with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and in particular the differences associated with different OCD symptoms. Method: A total of 154 subjects participated in a study assessing OCD symptom subtypes, called the Nepean OCD Study. In addition to a comprehensive evaluation of the subjects' OCD symptoms using the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), Vancouver Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory (VOCI), and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS), the subjects' medication history was recorded. The association between symptom severity, disability, OCD symptom subtypes and the use of psychotropic agents was examined. Results: Psychotropic medication was taken by 93 (60.4%) participants. In the majority of cases (n=55, 59.1%), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were taken, and of the SSRIs, the most commonly used agent was escitalopram (n=21, 22.6%). Psychotropic agents were more likely to be taken by subjects with higher Y-BOCS and SDS scores. Hoarding was associated with a lower likelihood of psychotropic use, whereas unacceptable/taboo thoughts were associated with an increased likelihood of psychotropic and antipsychotic use. Conclusion: Patients with OCD are more likely to be taking psychotropic agents if they have a more severe illness, greater disability and more prominent unacceptable/taboo thoughts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-121
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


    • Medication
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Psychotropic agents
    • Symptoms


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