ANTIDEPRESSANT: Owosso man judged incompetent to stand trial

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

Rosie is exactly right on her remarks on this case. Head injury is
contra-indicated when it comes to antidepressant use. The Wellbutrin package
insert spells it out better than any of the others if you would like to
read up on this aspect of antidepressant adverse reactions.
Also note that there is another case involving a head injury documented in
the comment section. I will send that out as a separate case next.
” A previous article stated that this man was on medication for
depression. Since he suffered a head injury, he should never have been given an
antidepressant since they can exacerbate seizures, head trauma, etc.. Many
experts have said this and testified to this. ”

Rosie wrote on Oct 2, 2009 4:27 PM:

” The sad fact is that the antidepressants probably caused this
terrible violence and these tragic deaths.

The Physicians Desk Reference
states that SSRI antidepressants and all antidepressants can cause mania,
psychosis, abnormal thinking, paranoia, hostility, etc. These side effects can
also appear during withdrawal.

Go to where there are over
3,300 cases, with the full media article available, involving bizarre murders,
suicides, school shootings [48 of these] and murder-suicides – all of which
involve SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc, . The media
article usually tells which SSRI antidepressant the perpetrator was taking or
had been using. ”


Owosso man judged incompetent to stand trial

By MICHAEL PETERSON, Argus-Press Staff Writer
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Saturday, October 3, 2009 9:49 PM EDT

The 33-year-old Owosso man accused of two Sept. 11 murders was found incompetentto stand trial and will be remanded to the State Department of Mental Health for

Sixty-sixth District Court Judge Terrance P. Dignan signed an
order Wednesday afternoon finding Harlan Drake incompetent. However, Dignan, in
his written opinion, said there is a substantial probability Drake will attain
competence with treatment.

Dignan’s decision was based on a report filed
by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ann Arbor, where Drake was

Drake is accused of shooting Jim Pouillon, 63, as the Owosso

resident stood across from Owosso High School with an anti-abortion sign. Drake
also allegedly shot and killed Mike Fuoss, 61, the owner of an Owosso Township
gravel company.

Police say Drake also planned to target area Realtor Jim
Howe, but was arrested before he was able to carry out that portion of the

Robert Ashley, Drake’s attorney, said there were multiple reasons
for the court’s incompetency decision.

Ashley said Drake’s suicide
attempt Sept. 13, while he was in the Shiawassee County Jail, was a factor.
Drake shattered a television in his cell and cut his arm near the wrist with
glass shards.

Also, Ashley said, Drake was involved in a 2004 crash that
resulted in the death of two teenagers after they failed to yield to Drake’s
semi-truck. Drake’s family previously said Drake has battled depression since
the fatal crash and subsequently takes medication because of the

“We have fought all along that Mr. Drake’s mental health was
an issue here and this seems to support that,  Ashley said. “We certainly
want him to get well and now he is in a facility where that can occur – as
opposed to the Shiawassee County Jail, which just wasn’t equipped to handle

Drake will receive treatment at the Center for Forensic
Psychiatry for a maximum of 15 months, according to Ashley. Drake’s preliminary
examination on two counts of first-degree murder, felony firearm and carrying a
dangerous weapon with unlawful intent has been postponed until after Drake
undergoes the treatment and is ruled competent.

I have no reason to

believe that it will take the full 15 months, but I cannot speculate on the
length of time, Ashley said.  I cannot say what the course of treatment
will be. That will be up to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry to determine.

Shiawassee County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Sara Edwards said it is
important to note the Center for Forensic Psychiatry is a secure

Some believe it is like getting out of jail – it is not,
Edwards said.  Although he is not incarcerated in a jail, he is still in
custody. It’s not a type of place were he gets freedom or gets to go on field

Edwards added the Prosecutor’s Office still plans to move
forward with the case after Drake’s treatment is complete.

it is our hope that he would become competent through treatment,  Edwards

– Contact Michael Peterson at 725-5136 extension 223 or Post comments about this story online at

Comment on this Story

Rosieceewrote on Oct 3, 2009 2:20 PM:
” A previous article stated that this man
was on medication for depression. Since he suffered a head injury, he should
never have been given an antidepressant since they can exacerbate seizures, head
trauma, etc.. Many experts have said this and testified to this. ”

Rosiecee wrote on Oct 2, 2009 4:27 PM:

The sad fact is that the antidepressants probably caused this terrible violence
and these tragic deaths.

The Physicians Desk Reference states that SSRI
antidepressants and all antidepressants can cause mania, psychosis, abnormal
thinking, paranoia, hostility, etc. These side effects can also appear during

Go to where there are over
3,300 cases, with the full media article available, involving bizarre murders,
suicides, school shootings [48 of these] and murder-suicides – all of which
involve SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc, . The media
article usually tells which SSRI antidepressant the perpetrator was taking or
had been using. ”

JD wrote on Oct 2, 2009 3:11 PM:

Antidepressents don’t affect everyone the same way. Just cause they might work
for you doesn’t mean they work for everyone. That’s also why there is more than
one type of antidepressant–cause they don’t all work the same. Let the man get
better so he is “in his right mind” when he is tried. It does no good to punish
someone if they really don’t why they’re being punished. ”

adam conley wrote on Oct 2, 2009 11:38 AM:

automatically your guilty in civil servants eyes. they could care less if a
person has mental problems. but if it was a civil servant that commits a crime
they are automatically innocent of the crime. look how colbrys crimes where
handled from the beginning. wasn’t handcuffed didn’t go to jail didn’t get fired
for drinking on the job. do you really think you would get a 200 dollar bond for
drunk driving hit and run fleeing eluding police. i dont think so. ”

wrote on Oct 2, 2009 9:48 AM:

Does anyone know what kind of medication he was on? Not that it is an excuse for
what he did, just curious. ”

S. Lake wrote on Oct 2, 2009 7:25 AM:
” Mr.Drake isn’t competent enough to go to trial at this time, but, he was
competent enough at the time to purchase many rounds of ammunition and a number
of firearms! He was competent enough to drive a vehicle and drop off a relative
at the High School, but, didn’t know what he was doing when he fired one of the
guns that he was competent enough to buy! He was competent enough to drive that
same vehicle and go to the gravel pit and again use a gun that he was competent
enough to purchase.
I’m sure many of the citizens in Owosso are glad not to

see the “sign-man” anymore. But, should you forget, he was MURDERED IN COLD
BLOOD. Mr.Fuoss was also MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD. They have family members that
MISS them. There are laws somewhere to protect the victims. I believe that there
is a law regarding felons and mentally ill person from purchasing firearms.
Maybe that should be checked out! Hopefully the system will seek them and use
them. By the way, does Mr.Drake get visition with his family and friends? Jim
and Mike do, just at a very different place. Don’t let the “system” sweep this
under the rug. By the way, I didn’t realize that individual cells had TV’s. I
thought that there was a central area provided outside of individual cells for
that. (just wondering) ”

holman wrote on Oct 2, 2009 6:16
” II was in the Oakland County Jail these past 4 months. My bunkee is in
jail for destroying his home with a hammer. This frightened his poor wife who
arrived home during his rampage. Though his wife was not verbally or physically
threatened or harmed, my bunkee was charged with Felony Assault.

bunkee was on meds for depression as a result of a motorcycle accident. His meds
were the reason he went on his rampage. The doctor prescribed something he
should not have been taking, this contributed to his mental state.

It is
possible that Harlan Drake’s situation is similar. It is reported that in 2004
Drake was in a severe motor vehicle accident, and has not been the same since.
Perhaps prescribed drugs contributed to his homicidal rampage.

one thing is very strange; my bunkee had to wait 4 months to get into the Ann
Arbor forensic lab, and he still has not received word from the court regarding
the lab’s prognosis. Harlan Drake seems to get preferential treatment and a
clement court decision within weeks of his shooting rampage.

This is all
too typical of pro-abortion violence against pro-lifers.

When pro-lifers
are attacked at the death camps, and we call for the police, and guess who gets
arrested? Usually nothing happens to the person committing the assault. Others
could say much more. I have heard many, many stories besides my own

I am presently in custody in Michigan as a result of road
rage. I was driving a vehicle which displays the same aborted babies Jim
Poullion was displaying not 40 miles from where Jim was shot and killed by
Harlan Drake.

I am accused of the road rage the other person was doing
(I have nothing against bland mini-vans).

I am presently tempted to

plead to a misdemeanor just to get this ordeal over with. My chances of getting
a fair minded jury in this country are very slim. Most people believe that in
any altercation, people who display aborted baby pictures are at fault. They
believe we are deliberately provoking people to fight us. I am sure that is in
the back of most people’s minds when it comes to the shooting death of Jim
Poullion. Though unsaid, they believe he got what he deserved.

provoking a fight is not the reason we display the pictures. We display the
brutality of abortion because we want baby-killing to end. We want people to see
and to understand how outrageous it is for a mother to kill her child.
Displaying the pictures saves lives and stirs up repentance. It also brings
about outrage to the unrepentant. Baby-murder is permitted, protected, and
promoted in our nation for 37 years with no end in sight. Displaying the carnage
is the most direct and powerful means we have to combat it’s acceptance.

Those who kill their children have few inhibitions about inflicting harm
on strangers. There is but a thin layer of civility which prevents many from
doing so. Drugs can strip away that thin layer. But even those considered sane,
empowered as of a pastor, judge, juror, prosecutor, politician, or voter
participate in the homicides of 4000 innocent Americans per day.

shall those who protect the unborn get fair treatment from those who participate
in their killings? It will not happen this side of glory. ”

JH wrote on Oct 2, 2009 2:43 AM:

Good for him, I know a thing or two about the local mental health care and let
me just say it’s “lacking”. If he needs help I hope he gets it. ”

Ashamedoflaw wrote on Oct 1, 2009 11:07 PM:

Why not do the decent thing, and put him out of his misery. Give him the needle
and end it now!!! Too bad he didin’t cut himself deep enough to end it in jail,
Shame on the jailers for for saving his life. Now we have to pay for him to rot
in jail the rest of our natural lives ”

4pets wrote on Oct 1, 2009 9:39 PM:

” OMG. I cannot believe how “blind” some people are! This murderer is not
sane- no murderer is sane! This does not mean that I think he should not be
tried for the murders he committed. He should be punished to the full extent of
the law!I am so sick of “criminals” blaming their frickin “depression” or their
“anti-depressant” medication for their crimes! I am depressed and have taken
these types of medications and I did not kill anyone! Perhaps the lawmakers
should consider a persons “mental” health before allowing them a gun permit!!!!

Interesting wrote on Oct
1, 2009 4:29 PM:
” You know this is unbelieveable to say the least. I work
in the County, a man had called on Wed. before the murders and requested Howe’s
address, he did plan these murders, he did know what he was doing. I am sure he
is depressed because he went on the rant rage and was going to be in prison for
the rest of his life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is never get was is
do———him!!!!!!!!! ”

658 total views, no views today

NEJM: On Zoloft Homicidal Ideation Frequent In Those 17 & Under

Since I believe that people should always get credit for the hard work and contribution they make in life I want to give our thanks to Rosie Meysenburg for getting this out to us today and for her comments on it. Rosie has done so much, along with her husband Gene, in posting our years and years worth of work gathering these SSRI & SNRI cases together for the _www.ssristories.drugawareness.org_
( site.

“This Adverse Event Report, from a study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that of 133 children 17 & under on Zoloft there were 2 who reported “Homicidal Ideation”. There were no reports of “Homicidal Ideation” in the placebo group.

[According to the Physicians Desk Reference, a Frequent adverse reaction is one that occurs in 100 people or less.  Homicidal Ideation occurred in 1 in 66 children on Zoloft aged 17  and under.]

“According to the Physicians Desk Reference, a Frequent adverse reaction is one that occurs in 100 people or less. Homicidal Ideation occurred in 1 in 66 children on Zoloft aged 17 and under.

“This Adverse Event Report was the appendix for this study in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

adverse event report1.pdf

This Adverse Event Report was the appendix for this study in the New England Journal of Medicine:

And with this new information from the New England Journal of Medicine I want to include information out of Australia which is that Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, along with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA similar to our FDA), recommends that any SSRI antidepressant should not be prescribed to Australians under the age of 24. Funny, but I missed that warning from Pfizer for Americans under 24, didn’t you?

Next I will send that article that just came out over the weekend because it ties in so closely with this new information on Zoloft. And because there is so much to read in this article alone I am going to cut my comments at this point and let the article speak for itself.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
_www.drugawareness.org_ ( &
_www.ssristories.org_ (
Author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our
Serotonin Nightmare & the audio, Help! I Can’t
Get Off My Antidepressant!!! ()

_atracyphd1@…_ (mailto:atracyphd1@…)


Published at October 30, 2008 (10.1056/NEJMoa0804633)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Sertraline, or a Combination in Childhood

John T. Walkup, M.D., Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D., John Piacentini, Ph.D.,
Boris Birmaher, M.D., Scott N. Compton, Ph.D., Joel T. Sherrill, Ph.D., Golda
S. Ginsburg, Ph.D., Moira A. Rynn, M.D., James McCracken, M.D., Bruce Waslick,
M.D., Satish Iyengar, Ph.D., John S. March, M.D., M.P.H., and Philip C. Kendall, Ph.D.

Background Anxiety disorders are common psychiatric conditions affecting children and adolescents. Although cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors have shown efficacy in treating these disorders, little is known about their relative or combined efficacy.

Methods In this randomized, controlled trial, we assigned 488 children between the ages of 7 and 17 years who had a primary diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or social phobia to receive 14 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline (at a dose of up to 200 mg per day), a combination of sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy, or a placebo drug for 12 weeks in a 2:2:2:1 ratio. We administered categorical and dimensional ratings of anxiety severity and impairment at baseline and at
weeks 4, 8, and 12.

Results The percentages of children who were rated as very much or much improved on the Clinician Global Impression “Improvement scale were 80.7% for combination therapy (P<0.001), 59.7% for cognitive behavioral therapy (P<0.001), and 54.9% for sertraline (P<0.001); all therapies were superior to placebo
(23.7%). Combination therapy was superior to both monotherapies (P<0.001).

Results on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale documented a similar magnitude and pattern of response; combination therapy had a greater response than cognitive behavioral therapy, which was equivalent to sertraline, and all therapies were superior to placebo. Adverse events, including suicidal and homicidal
ideation, were no more frequent in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. No child attempted suicide. There was less insomnia, fatigue, sedation, and restlessness associated with cognitive behavioral therapy than with sertraline.

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline reduced the severity of anxiety in children with anxiety disorders; a combination of the two therapies had a superior response rate.

( number,
NCT00052078 _[]_
) .)

Anxiety disorders are common in children and cause substantial impairment in
school, in family relationships, and in social functioning._1_
( ,_2_
( Such disorders
also predict adult anxiety disorders and major depression._3_
( ,_4_
( ,_5_
( ,_6_
( Despite a high
prevalence (10 to 20%_3_
,_7_ ( ,_8_
( ) and substantial
morbidity, anxiety disorders in childhood remain underrecognized and
undertreated._1_ (


An improvement in outcomes for children with anxiety disorders would have important public health
implications.In clinical trials, separation and generalized anxiety disorders and social
phobia are often grouped together because of the high degree of overlap in
symptoms and the distinction from other anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive compulsive disorder). Efficacious treatments for these disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy_10_
( ,_11_
( and
the use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)._12_
( ,_13_

However, randomized, controlled trials comparing cognitive behavioral therapy, the use of an SSRI, or the combination of both therapies with a control are lacking. The evaluation of combination therapy is particularly important because approximately 40 to 50% of children with these disorders do not have a response to short-term treatment with either monotherapy.
_14_( ,_15_

Our study, called the Child “Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study, was designed to address the current gaps in the treatment literature by evaluating the relative efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline, a combination of the two therapies, and a placebo drug. This article reports the results of short-term treatment.


Study Design and Implementation

This study was designed as a two-phase, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial for children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 17 years who had separation or generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia. Phase 1 was a 12-week trial of short-term treatment comparing cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline, and their combination with a placebo drug. Phase 2 is a 6-month open extension for patients who had a response in phase 1.

The authors designed the study, wrote the manuscript, and vouch for the data gathering and analysis. Pfizer provided sertraline and matching placebo free of charge but was not involved in the design or implementation of the study, the analysis or interpretation of data, the preparation or review of the manuscript, or the decision to publish the results of the study.

Study Subjects

Children between the ages of 7 and 17 years with a primary diagnosis of separation or generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia (according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision
( ),
substantial impairment, and an IQ of 80 or more were eligible to participate. Children with coexisting psychiatric diagnoses of lesser severity than the three target disorders were also allowed to participate;
such diagnoses included attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) whilereceiving stable doses of stimulant and obsessive compulsive, post-traumatic stress, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorders. Children were excluded if they had an unstable medical condition, were refusing to attend school
because of anxiety, or had not had a response to two adequate trials of SSRIs or an adequate trial of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Girls who were pregnant or were sexually active and were not using an effective method of birth control
were also excluded. Children who were receiving psychoactive medications other than stable doses of stimulants and who had psychiatric diagnoses that made participation in the study clinically inappropriate (i.e., current majordepressive or substance-use disorder; type ADHD; or a lifetime history of bipolar, psychotic, or pervasive developmental disorders) or who presented an acute risk to themselves or others were also excluded.

Recruitment occurred from December 2002 through May 2007 at Duke University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute Columbia University Medical Center New York University, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Temple University University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Los Angeles,and
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The protocol was approved and monitored by institutional review boards at each center and by the data and safety monitoring board of the National Institute of Mental Health. Subjects and at least one parent provided written informed consent.


Cognitive behavioral therapy involved fourteen 60-minute sessions, which included review and ratings of the severity of subjects’ anxiety, response to treatment, and adverse events. Therapy was based on the Coping Cat program,_17_ ( ,_18_
( which was adapted for the
subjects’ age and the duration of the study._19_ (

Each subject who was assigned to receive cognitive behavioral therapy received training in anxiety-management skills, followed by behavioral exposure to anxiety-provoking situations. Parents
attended weekly check-ins and two parent-only sessions. Experienced psychotherapists, certified in the Coping Cat protocol, received regular site-level and cross-site supervision.

Pharmacotherapy involved eight sessions of 30 to 60 minutes each that included review and ratings of the severity of subjects’ anxiety, their response to treatment, and adverse events. Sertraline (Zoloft) and matching placebo were administered on a fixed flexible schedule beginning with 25 mg per day and adjusted up to 200 mg per day by week 8. Through week 8, subjects who were considered to be mildly ill or worse and who had minimal side effects were eligible for dose increases.

Psychiatrists and nurse clinicians with experience in medicating children with anxiety disorders were certified in the study pharmacotherapy protocol and received regular site-level and cross-site supervision.
Pill counts and medication diaries were used to facilitate and document adherence. Combination therapy consisted of the administration of sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy. Whenever possible, therapy and medication sessions occurred on the same day for the convenience of subjects.

Study objectives were, first, to compare the relative efficacy of the three active treatments with placebo; second, to compare combination therapy with either sertraline or cognitive behavioral therapy alone; and third, to assess the safety and tolerability of sertraline, as compared with placebo. We hypothesized that all three active treatments would be superior to placebo and that combination therapy would be superior to either sertraline or cognitive behavioral therapy alone.

Outcome Assessments
We obtained demographic information, information on symptoms of anxiety, and data on coexisting disorders and psychosocial functioning using reports from both the subjects and their parents and from interviews of subjects and parents at the time of screening, at baseline, and at weeks 4, 8, and 12.

The interviews were administered by independent evaluators who were unaware of study-group assignments.
We used the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV-TR, Child Version,_20_ ( to establish diagnostic eligibility. The categorical primary outcome was the treatment response at week 12, which was defined as a score of 1 (very much improved) or 2 (much improved) on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale,_21_
( which ranges from 1 to 7, with lower scores indicating more improvement, as compared with baseline. A score of 1 or 2 reflects a substantial, clinically meaningful improvement in anxiety severity and normal functioning. The dimensional primary
outcome was anxiety severity as measured on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale, computed by the summation of six items assessing anxiety severity, frequency, distress, avoidance, and interference during the previous week._22_(

Total scores on this scale range from 0 to 30, with scores above 13 indicating clinically meaningful anxiety. The Children’s Global Assessment Scale_23_ ( was used to rate
overall impairment.

Scores on this scale range from 1 to 100; scores of 60 or lower are considered to indicate a need for treatment, and a score of 50 corresponds to moderate impairment that affects most life situations and is readily observable. Agreement among the raters was high for anxiety severity (r=0.85) and diagnostic
status (intraclass correlation coefficient= 0.82 to 0.88) on the basis of a videotaped review of 10% of assessments by independent evaluators that were performed at baseline and at week 12.

Adverse Events
Adverse events were defined as any unfavorable change in the subjects’ pretreatment condition, regardless of its relationship to a particular therapy. Serious adverse events were life-threatening events, hospitalization, or events leading to major incapacity. Harm-related adverse events were defined as thoughts of harm to self or others or related behaviors. All subjects were interviewed at the start of each visit by the study coordinator with the use of a standardized script. Identified adverse events and harm-related events were then evaluated and rated by each subject’s study clinician.

This report presents data on all serious adverse events, all harm-related adverse events, andmoderate and severe (i.e., functionally impairing) adverse events that occurred in 3% or more of subjects in any study group. The data and safety monitoring board of the National Institute of Mental Health performed a quarterly review
of reported adverse events. Given the greater number of study visits (and hence more reporting
opportunities) and the unblinded administration of sertraline in the combination-therapy group, the test of the adverse-event profile of sertraline focused on statistical comparisons between sertraline and placebo and sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Randomization and Masking
The randomization sequence in a 2:2:2:1 ratio was determined by a computer-generated algorithm and maintained by the central pharmacy, with stratification according to age, sex, and study center. Subjects were assigned to study groups after being deemed eligible and undergoing verbal reconsent with a study investigator. Subjects in the sertraline and placebo groups did not know whether they were receiving active therapy, nor did their clinicians. However, subjects who received combination therapy knew they were receiving active sertraline. The study protocol called for independent evaluators who completed assessments to be unaware of all treatment assignments.

Statistical Analysis
On the basis of previous studies,_10_
( ,_11_
( ,_12_
,_13_ ( ,_14_
( ,_15_
we hypothesized that 80% of children in the combination-therapy group, 60% in either the sertraline group
or the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, and 30% in the placebo group would be considered to have had a response to treatment at week 12. We determined that we needed to enroll 136 subjects in each active-treatment group and 70 subjects in the placebo group for the study to have a power of 80% to detect a minimum difference of 17% between any two study groups in the rate of response, assuming an alpha of 0.05 and a two-tailed test with no adjustment for multiple comparisons.

Analyses were performed with the use of SAS software, version 9.1.3 (SAS Institute). For categorical outcomes (including data regarding adverse events), treatments were compared with the use of Pearson’s chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, or logistic regression, as appropriate. Logistic-regression models included the study center as a covariate. For dimensional outcomes, linear mixed-effects models (implemented with the use of PROC MIXED) were used to determine predicted mean values at each assessment point (weeks 4, 8, and 12)
and to test the study hypotheses with respect to between-group differences at week 12.

In each linear mixed-effects model, time and study group were included as fixed effects, with linear and quadratic time and time-by-treatment group interaction terms. Each model also began with a limited number of covariates (e.g., age, sex, and race), followed by backward stepping to identify thebest-fitting and most parsimonious model. In all models, random effects included intercept and linear slope terms, and an unstructured covariance was used to account for within-subject correlation over time. All comparisons were planned and tests were two-sided. A P value of less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. The sequential Dunnett test was used to control the overall (familywise) error rate._24_

We analyzed data from all subjects according to study group. Sensitivity analyses were performed with the last observation carried forward (LOCF) and multiple imputation assuming missingness at random. Results were similar for the two missing-data methods. We report the results of the LOCF analysis because the
response rates were lower and hence provide a more conservative estimate of outcomes.

A total of 3066 potentially eligible subjects were screened by telephone
(_Figure 1_ ( ). Of these subjects, 761 signed consent forms and completed the inclusion and exclusion evaluation, 524 were deemed to be eligible and completed the baseline assessment, and 488 underwent randomization. Eleven subjects (2.3%) stopped
treatment but were included in the assessment (treatment withdrawals); 46 subjects (9.4%) stopped both treatment and assessment (study withdrawals).

On the basis of logistic-regression analyses, pairwise comparisons indicated that subjects in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group were significantly less likely to withdraw from treatment than were those in the sertraline group (odds ratio, 0.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13 to 0.87; P=0.03) or the placebo
group (odds ratio, 0.24; 95% CI; 0.09 to 0.67; P=0.006). Of the 488 subjects who underwent randomization, 459 (94.1%) completed at least one postbaseline assessment, 396 (81.1%) completed all four assessments, and 440 (90.2%) completed the assessment at week 12. Subjects were recruited primarily through advertisements (52.2%) or clinical referrals (44.1%).
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Figure 1. Enrollment and Outcomes.

Subjects who are shown as having withdrawn from treatment discontinued their assigned therapy but continued to undergo study assessment. Subjects who are shown as having withdrawn from the study discontinued both therapy and assessment. CBT denotes cognitive behavioral therapy.

Of 14 possible sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, the mean (±SD) number of sessions completed was 12.7±2.8 in the combination-therapy group and 13.2±2.0 in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group. The mean dose of sertraline at the final visit was 133.7±59.8 mg per day (range, 25 to 200) in the combination-therapy group, 146.0±60.8 mg per day (range, 25 to 200) in the sertraline group, and 175.8±43.7 mg per day (range, 50 to 200) in the placebo group.

Demographic and Clinical Characteristics
There were no significant differences among study groups with respect to baseline demographic and clinical characteristics (_Table 1_ ( ). The mean age of participants was 10.7±2.8 years, with 74.2% under the age of 13 years.

There were nearly equal numbers of male and female subjects. Most subjects were white (78.9%), with
other racial and ethnic groups represented. Subjects came from predominantly middle-class and upper-middle-class families (74.6%) and lived with both biologic parents (70.3%). Most subjects had received the diagnosis of two or more primary anxiety disorders (78.7%) and one or more secondary disorders
(55.3%). At baseline, subjects had moderate-to-severe anxiety and impairment (_Table
2_ ( ).

Given the geographic diversity among study centers, there were significant differences among sites on several baseline demographic variables (e.g., race and socioeconomic status). Overall, these variables were equally distributed among study groups within each center; however, three centers had one instance each of
unequal distribution for sex, race, or socioeconomic status.

View this table:
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Table 1. Baseline Characteristics of the Subjects and Recruitment According
to Study Center.

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Table 2. Key Outcomes at 12 Weeks.

Clinical Response
In the intention-to-treat analysis, the percentages of children who were rated as 1 (very much improved) or 2 (much improved) on the Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale at 12 weeks were 80.7% (95% CI, 73.3 to 86.4) in the combination-therapy group, 59.7% (95% CI, 51.4 to 67.5) in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, 54.9% (95% CI, 46.4 to 63.1) in the sertraline group, and
23.7% (95% CI, 15.5 to 34.5) in the placebo group (_Table 2_ ( ).

With the study center as a covariate, planned pairwise comparisons from a logistic-regression model showed
that each active treatment was superior to placebo as follows: combination therapy versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 13.6; 95% CI, 6.9 to 26.8); cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 4.8; 95% CI, 2.6 to 9.0); and sertraline versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 3.9; 95% CI, 2.1 to 7.4). Similar pairwise comparisons revealed that combination therapy was superior to either sertraline alone (odds ratio, 3.4; 95% CI, 2.0 to 5.9; P<0.001) or cognitive behavioral therapy alone (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.6 to 4.8; P=0.001). However, there was no significant difference between sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy (P=0.41).

There was no main effect for center (P=0.69); however, a comparison among centers according to study group revealed a significant difference in response to combination therapy but no differences with respect to the response to sertraline alone (P=0.15) or cognitive behavioral therapy alone (P=0.25).

Further evaluation of response rates revealed that the average response rate for combination therapy at one center was significantly lower than at the other centers (P=0.002). A sensitivity analysis of site response rates showed that when data from the one site were removed, the average response rate of the other sites was consistent with that of the full sample.

The mixed-effects model for the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale revealed a significant quadratic effect for time (P<0.001) and a significant quadratic time-by-treatment interaction for cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo (P=0.01) but not for either combination therapy or sertraline versus placebo. In other words, as compared with placebo, cognitive behavioral therapy had a linear mean trajectory (_Figure 2_
( ). Planned pairwise comparisons of the expected mean scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale at week 12 revealed a similar ordering of
outcomes, with all active treatments superior to placebo, according to the following comparisons: combination therapy versus placebo, t=–5.94 (P<0.001); cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo, t=–2.11 (P=0.04); and sertraline versus placebo, t=–3.15 (P=0.002). In addition, combination therapy was
superior to both sertraline alone (t=–3.26, P=0.001) and cognitive behavioral therapy alone (t=–4.73, P<0.001). No significant difference was found between sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy (t=1.32, P=0.19). The same magnitude and pattern of outcome was found for the Clinical Global Impressio Severity
scale and the Children’s Global Assessment Scale.
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Figure 2. Scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale during the 12-Week

Scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale range from 0 to 30, with scores higher than 13 consistent with moderate levels of anxiety and a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. The expected mean score is the mean of the sampling distribution of the mean.

Estimates of the effect size (Hedges’ g) and the number needed to treatbetween the active-treatment groups and the placebo group were calculated. Effect sizes are based on the expected mean scores on the Pediatric Anxiety
Rating Scale, derived from the mixed-effects model. The number needed to treat is based on the dichotomized, end-of-treatment scores on the Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale with the use of LOCF. The effect size was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.56 to 1.15) for combination therapy, 0.45 (95% CI, 0.17 to 0.74) for
sertraline, and 0.31 (95% CI, 0.02 to 0.59) for cognitive behavioral treatment.

The number needed to treat was 1.7 (95% CI, 1.7 to 1.9) for combination therapy, 3.2 (95% CI, 3.2 to 3.5) for sertraline, and 2.8 (95% CI, 2.7 to 3.0) for cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment and Study Withdrawals
Most treatment and study withdrawals were attributed to reasons other than adverse events (43 of 57, 75.4%) (_Table 3_
( ).

Of the 14 withdrawals that were attributed to an adverse event, 11 (78.6%) were in the groups receiving either sertraline alone or placebo and consisted of 3 physical events (headache, stomach pains, and tremor) and 8 psychiatric adverse events (worsening of symptoms, 3 subjects; agitation or disinhibition, 3; hyperactivity, 1; and nonsuicidal self-harm and homicidal ideation, 1).
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Table 3. Subjects Who Withdrew from Treatment or the Study.

Serious Adverse Events
Three subjects had serious adverse events during the study period. One child in the sertraline group had a worsening of behavior that was attributed to the parents’ increased limit setting on avoidance behavior; the event was considered to be possibly related to sertraline. A child in the combination-therapy
group had a worsening of preexisting oppositional defiant behavior that resulted in psychiatric hospitalization; this event was considered to be unrelated to a study treatment. The third subject was hospitalized for a tonsillectomy, which was also considered to be unrelated to a study treatment
4_ ( ).
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Table 4. Moderate-to-Severe Adverse Events at 12 Weeks.

Adverse Events
Subjects in the combination-therapy group had a greater number of study visits and therefore significantly more opportunities for elicitation of adverse events than did those in the other study groups, with a mean of 12.8±4.0 opportunities (range, 1 to 22) in the combination-therapy group, as compared with 9.9±3.6 (range, 1 to 14) in the sertraline group, 10.6±2.0 (range, 1 to 14) in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, and 9.7±4.2 (range, 1 to 14) in the placebo group (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Rates of adverse events,
including suicidal and homicidal ideation, were not significantly greater in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. No child in the study attempted suicide. Among children in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, there were fewer reports of insomnia, fatigue, sedation, and restlessness or fidgeting than in the sertraline group (P<0.05 for all comparisons). For a list of mild adverse events that were not associated with functional impairment, as well as moderate and severe events, see the _Supplementary Appendix_
( ,

available with the full text of this article at

Our study examined therapies that many clinicians consider to be the most promising treatments for childhood anxiety disorders. Our findings indicate that as compared with placebo, the three active therapies combination therapy with both cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline, cognitive behavioral therapy alone, and sertraline alone — are effective short-term treatments for children with separation and generalized anxiety disorders and social phobia, with combination treatment having superior response rates. No physical,psychiatric, or harm-related adverse events were reported more frequently in the sertraline group than in the placebo group, a finding similar to that for SSRIs, as identified in previous studies of anxious children._12_
( ,_13_
( ,_25_

Few withdrawals from either treatment or the study were attributed to adverse events. Suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation were uncommon. No child attempted suicide during the study period. Since they were recruited at multiple centers and locations, the study subjects were racially and ethnically diverse. However, despite intense outreach, the sample did not include the most socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
Subjects were predominantly younger children and included those with ADHD and other anxiety disorders, factors that allow for generalization of the results to these populations.

Conversely, the exclusion of children and teens with major depression and pervasive developmental disorders may have limited the generalizability of the results to these populations.The observed advantage of combination therapy over either cognitive behavioral therapy or sertraline alone during short-term treatment (an improvement of 21 to 25%) suggests that among these effective therapies, combination therapy
provides the best chance for a positive outcome. The superiority of combination therapy might be due to additive or synergistic effects of the two therapies. However, additional contact time in the combination-therapy group, which was unblinded, and expectancy effects on the part of both subjects and
clinicians cannot be ruled out as alternative explanations.

Nonetheless, the magnitude of the treatment effect in the combination-therapy group (with two
subjects as the number needed to treat to prevent one additional event) suggests that children with anxiety disorders who receive quality combination therapy can consistently expect a substantial reduction in the severity of anxiety. An increased number of visits in the combination-therapy group resulted in increased opportunities for elicitation of adverse events. Consequently, the potential for expectancies among subjects, parents, and clinicians regarding the side effects of medications in the context of more visits may have increased the rate of some adverse events in the combination-therapy group and may limit conclusions that can be drawn regarding the rates of adverse events in combination therapy.

The positive benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy, as compared with placebo, adds new information to the existing literature._26_ (
The number needed to treat for cognitive behavioral therapy in this study (three subjects) is the same as that
identified in a meta-analysis of studies comparing subjects who were assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy with those assigned to a waiting list for therapy or to sessions without active therapy._14_

Our study’s test of cognitive behavioral therapy included children with moderate-to-severe anxiety and addresses criticism of previous trials that included children with only mild-to-moderate
anxiety._14_ (
Before our study, cognitive behavioral therapy for childhood anxiety was considered to be
“probably efficacious.”_26_

This evaluation of cognitive behavioral therapy and other recent studies_27_ (
,_28_ ( suggests that
such therapy for childhood anxiety is a well-established, evidenced-based treatment._29_ (

Given that the risk of some adverse events was lower in the behavioral-therapy group than in the sertraline group, some parents and their children may consider choosing cognitive behavioral therapy as their initial treatment.

The results of our study confirm the short-term efficacy of sertraline for children with generalized anxiety disorder_25_ ( and show that
sertraline is effective for children with separation anxiety disorder and social phobia. The number needed
to treat for sertraline in our study (three subjects) was the same as that previously identified in a meta-analysis_15_ ( of six
randomized, placebo-controlled trials of SSRIs for childhood anxiety disorders._12_
( ,_13_
( ,_25_
,_30_ ( ,_31_

These studies and others_27_ (
suggest that SSRIs, as a class, are the medication of choice for these conditions. The titration schedule that we used, which emphasized upward dose adjustment in the absence of response and adverse events, suggests that the average end-point dose of sertraline in this study is the highest dose consistent with good outcome and tolerability. No adverse events were observed more frequently in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. In contrast to the apparent risk of suicidal ideation and behavior in studies of depression in children and
adolescents,_15_ ( our study did not demonstrate any increased risk for suicidal behavior in the sertraline group. Given the benefit of sertraline alone or in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and the limited risk of adverse events associated with the drug in our study, the well-monitored use of sertraline and other SSRIs in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders is indicated.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline either in combination or as monotherapies appear to be effective treatments for these commonly occurring childhood anxiety disorders. Results confirm those of previous studies of SSRIs and cognitive behavioral therapy and, most important, show that combination
therapy offers children the best chance for a positive outcome. Our findings indicate that all three of the treatment options may be recommended, taking into consideration the family’s treatment preferences, treatment availability, cost, and time burden. To inform more prescriptive selection of patients for
treatment, further analysis of predictors and moderators of treatment response may identify who is most likely to respond to which_32_
( of these
effective alternatives.
Supported by grants (U01 MH064089, to Dr. Walkup; U01 MH64092, to Dr.
Albano; U01 MH64003, to Dr. Birmaher; U01 MH63747, to Dr. Kendall; U01 MH64107,
to Dr. March; U01 MH64088, to Dr. Piacentini; and U01 MH064003, to Dr. Compton)
from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Sertraline and matching placebo were supplied free of charge by Pfizer. Dr. Walkup reports receiving consulting fees from Eli Lilly and Jazz Pharmaceuticals and fees for legal consultation to defense counsel and
submission of written reports in litigation involving GlaxoSmithKline, receiving lecture fees from CMP Media, Medical Education Reviews, McMahon Group, and DiMedix, and receiving support in the form of free medication and matching placebo from Eli Lilly and free medication from Abbott for clinical trials funded by the NIMH; Dr. Albano, receiving royalties from Oxford University Press for the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV, Child and Parent Versions, but not for interviews used in this study, and royalties from the Guilford Press; Dr. Piacentini, receiving royalties from Oxford University Press for treatmentmanuals on childhood obsessive compulsive disorder and tic disorders and from the Guilford Press and APA Books for other books on child mental health and receiving lecture fees from Janssen-Cilag; Dr. Birmaher, receiving consulting fees from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and Abcomm, lecture fees from Solvay, and royalties from Random House for a book on children with bipolar disorder; Dr. Rynn, receiving grant support from Neuropharm, BoehringerIngelheim Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, consulting fees from Wyeth, and royalties from APPI for a book chapter on pediatric anxiety disorders; Dr. McCracken, receiving consulting fees from Sanofi-Aventis and Wyeth, lecture fees from Shire and UCB, and grant support from Aspect, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Eli Lilly; Dr. Waslick, receiving grant support from Baystate Health, Somerset Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline; Dr. Iyengar, receiving consulting fees from Westinghouse for statistical consultation; Dr. March, receiving study medications from Eli Lilly for an NIMH-funded clinical trial and receiving royalties from Pearson for being the author of the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, receiving consulting fees from Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Wyeth, and GlaxoSmithKline, having an equity interest in MedAvante, and serving on an advisory board for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson; and Dr. Kendall, receiving royalties from Workbook Publishing for anxiety-treatment materials.

No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMH, the National Institutes of Health, or the Department of Health and Human Services.
We thank the children and their families who made this study possible; and J. Chisar, J. Fried, R. Klein, E. Menvielle, S. Olin, J. Severe, D. Almirall, and members of NIMH’s data and safety monitoring board.
* The study investigators are listed in the Appendix.

Source Information
From the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore (J.T.W., G.S.G.); New York State Psychiatric Institute–Columbia University Medical Center, New York (A.M.A., M.A.R.); the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles (J.P., J.M.); Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh (B.B., S.I.); Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (S.N.C., J.S.M.); the Division of Services and Intervention Research, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD (J.T.S.); Baystate
Medical Center, Springfield, MA (B.W.); and Temple University, Philadelphia

This article (10.1056/NEJMoa0804633) was published at on
October 30, 2008. It will appear in the December 25 issue of the Journal.
Address reprint requests to Dr. Walkup at the Division of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns
Hopkins Medical Institutions, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287.
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The following investigators participated in this study: Steering Committee:
J. Walkup (chair), A. Albano (cochair); Statistics–Experimental Design: S.
Compton, S. Iyengar, J. March; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: P. Kendall, G.
Ginsburg; Pharmacotherapy: M. Rynn, J. McCracken; Assessment: J. Piacentini,
A. Albano; Study Coordinators: C. Keeton, H. Koo, S. Aschenbrand, L. Bardsley,
R. Beidas, J. Catena, K. Dever, K. Drake, R. Dublin, E. Fontaine, J. Furr, A.
Gonzalez, K. Hedtke, L. Hunt, M. Keller, J. Kingery, A. Krain, K. Miller, J.
Podell, P. Rentas, M. Rozenmann, C. Suveg, C. Weiner, M. Wilson, T. Zoulas;
Data Center: M. Fletcher, K. Sullivan; Cognitive Behavior Therapists: E.
Gosch, C. Alfano, A. Angelosante, S. Aschenbrand, A. Barmish, L. Bergman, S.
Best, J. Comer, S. Compton, W. Copeland, M. Cwik, M. Desari, K. Drake, E.
Fontaine, J. Furr, P. Gammon, C. Gaze, R. Grover, H. Harmon, A. Hughes, K.
Hutchinson, J. Jones, C. Keeton, H. Kepley, J. Kingery, A. Krain, A. Langley,
J. Lee, J. Levitt, J. Manetti-Cusa, E. Martin, C. Mauro, K. McKnight, T. Peris, K.
Poling, L. Preuss, A. Puliafico, J. Robin, T. Roblek, J. Samson, M.
Schlossberg, M. Sweeney, C. Suveg, O. Velting, T. Verduin; Pharmacotherapists:
M. Rynn, J. McCracken, A. Adegbola, P. Ambrosini, D. Axelson, S. Barnett, A. Baskina,
B. Birmaher, C. Cagande, A. Chrisman, B. Chung, H. Courvoisie, B. Dave, A.
Desai, K. Dever, M. Gazzola, E. Harris, G. Hirsh, V. Howells, L. Hsu, I.
Hypolite, F. Kampmeier, S. Khalid-Khan, B. Kim, D. Kondo, L. Kotler, M.
Krushelnycky, J. Larson, J. Lee, P. Lee, C. Lopez, L. Maayan, J. McCracken, R.
Means,L. Miller, A. Parr, C. Pataki, C. Peterson, P. Pilania, R. Pizarro, H. Ravi,
S. Reinblatt, M. Riddle, M. Rodowski, D. Sakolsky, A. Scharko, R. Suddath, C.
Suarez, J. Walkup, B. Waslick; Independent Evaluators: A. Albano, G.
Ginsburg, B. Asche, A. Barmish, M. Beaudry, S. Chang, M. Choudhury, B. Chu, S.
Crawley, J. Curry, G. Danner, N. Deily, R. Dingfelder, D. Fitzgerald, P.
Gammon, S. Hofflich, E. Kastelic, J. Keener, T. Lipani, K. Lukin, M. Masarik, T.
Peris, T. Piacentini, S. Pimentel, A. Puliafico, T. Roblek, M. Schlossberg, E.
Sood, S. Tiwari, J. Trachtenberg, P. van de Velde; Pharmacy: K. Truelove, H.
Kim; Research Assistants: S. Allard, S. Avny, D. Beckmann, C. Brice, B.
Buzzella, E. Capelli, A. Chiu, M. Coles, J. Freeman, M. Gringle, S. Hefton, D.
Hood, M. Jacoby, J. King, A. Kolos, B. Lourea-Wadell, L. Lu, J. Lusky, R. Maid, C.
Merolli, Y. Ojo, A. Pearlman, J. Regan, S. Rock, M. Rooney, N. Simone, S.
Tiwari, S. Yeager.

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