Azapirones for generalized anxiety disorder.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006; (3):CD006115CD
Azapirones are a group of drugs that work at the 5-HT1A receptor and are used to treat patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, several studies have shown conflicting results. Whether azapirones are useful as first line treatment in general anxiety disorders still needs to be answered.
To assess the efficacy and the acceptability of azapirones for the treatment of GAD.
Initially the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Register (CCDANCTR) and The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) were searched, incorporating results of group searches of MEDLINE (1966 to June 2005), EMBASE (1980 to June 2005), CINAHL (1982 to June 2005), PsycLIT (1974 to June 2005), PSYNDEX (1977 to June 2005), and LILACS (1982 to June 2005). Subsequently the revised Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Registers (CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References) were searched on 21-10-2005. Reference lists of relevant papers and major text books of anxiety disorder were examined. Authors, other experts in the field and pharmaceutical companies were contacted for knowledge of suitable trials, published or unpublished. Specialist journals concerning azapirones were handsearched.
Randomized controlled trials of azapirones, including buspirone versus placebo and/or other medication and/or psychological treatment, were included. Participants were males and females of all ages with a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Data were extracted from the original reports independently by CC, MA and MT. The main outcomes studied were related to the objectives stated above. Data were analysed for generalized anxiety disorder versus placebo, versus other medication and versus psychological treatment separately. Data were analysed using Review Manager Version 4.2.7.
Thirty six trials were included in the review, reporting on 5908 participants randomly allocated to azapirones and/or placebo, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, psychotherapy or kava kava. Azapirones, including buspirone, were superior to placebo in treating GAD. The calculated number needed to treat for azapirones using the Clinical Global Impression scale was 4.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.16 to 15.4). Azapirones may be less effective than benzodiazepines and we were unable to conclude if azapirones were superior to antidepressants, kava kava or psychotherapy. Azapirones appeared to be well tolerated. Fewer participants stopped taking benzodiazepines compared to azapirones. The length of studies ranged from four to nine weeks, with one study lasting 14 weeks.