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What are the FDA Approved OCD Medications?

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Updated November 29, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: What are the FDA Approved OCD Medications?
Answer:

There are a number of medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of OCD. Most of these drugs belong to a class of antidepressant called the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors; however, one of these drugs, Anafranil, belongs to a class of drugs called the tricyclic antidepressants. OCD medications approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of OCD include:

  • Anafranil (clomipramine)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)

Although not formally approved by the FDA for treatment of OCD, other types of SSRIs, as well as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are being prescribed by physicians "off-label" as OCD medications. Some examples of off-label OCD medications include:

  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Effexor (venlafaxine)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Antipsychotic medications are often used to augment the effectiveness of SSRIs and other antidepressants in reducing OCD symptoms. Commonly-employed augmentation OCD medications include:

  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)

As with any medical treatment, the decision to add a medication to your treatment strategy or to use a medication off-label is a choice that should be made in strong collaboration with your family doctor or psychiatrist.

Sources:

Schruers, K., Koning, K., Luermans, J., Haack, M. J., & Griez, E. "Obsessive-compulsive disorder: a critical review of therapeutic perspectives" Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica 15 February 2005 111:261-271. 01 September 2008.

Bloch, M.H., Landeros-Weisenberger, A., Kelmendi, B., Coric, V., Bracken, M.B., & Leckman, J.F. "A systematic review: antipsychotic augmentation with treatment refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder" Molecular Psychiatry 2006 11: 622-632.

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