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Skin-Picking

CITATION:  Bloch, M.R., Elliott, M., Thompson, H., and Koran, L.M.  (2001).  Fluoxetine in Pathologic Skin-Picking Open-Label and Double-Blind Results.  Psychosomatics 42:314–319.

ABSTRACT:   Various studies suggest that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be useful in treating pathologic skin-picking. The authors investigated the effectiveness of fluoxetine in treating this behavior. Fifteen subjects with clinically significant skin-picking were recruited by newspaper advertisement. They received 6 weeks of open-label treatment with fluoxetine. Responders were then randomized to 6 weeks of double-blind fluoxetine or placebo. Treatment effect was assessed with standardized rating scales. All 15 subjects completed open-label treatment, and 8 were responders. Of these eight, the four randomized to double-blind fluoxetine maintained clinically significant improvement. The four randomized to placebo returned to their baseline symptom level. Larger studies are needed to determine which individuals are likely to respond to fluoxetine and the relative effectiveness of fluoxetine, other SSRIs, and other forms of treatment.

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