We aimed to examine whether anxiety sensitivity and agoraphobic fear could affect the time taken to remission after 24 weeks of open-label escitalopram treatment of patients with panic disorder (PD). We recruited 158 patients, and 101 patients completed the study. Clinical severity and psychological characteristics were assessed at baseline and 4, 12, and 24 weeks after the treatment, using the Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S), the Hamilton Rating Scales for Anxiety and Depression, the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised (ASI-R), the Albany Panic and Phobia Questionnaire (APPQ), and the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS). Remission was defined as the absence of full panic attacks and PDSS scores of 7 or less. Completing patients were stratified according to the time taken to remit: early (n= 20) and late (n= 58) remission and non-remission groups (n= 23). There were no significant differences among the three groups at baseline on the CGI-S and the PDSS mean scores. However, early remitters had significantly lower scores than late remitters and non-remitters on the ASI-R and APPQ. In conclusion, anxiety sensitivity and agoraphobic fear can affect the time to remission after pharmacotherapy, and clinicians should consider the psychological characteristics of PD patients in order to achieve an optimal response to pharmacotherapy.
- Anxiety sensitivity