Wyeth has reported that its panic disorder drug Effexor has been approved by the FDA. The drug is the first antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat panic disorder since 2002.
Wyeth tested Effexor -- which belongs to a class of antidepressants called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors -- in a 26-week, placebo-based study of adults who had responded to the drug during an initial 12-week open-label trial. These patients were randomly continued on Effexor or switched to placebo for a six-month double-blind treatment phase. Patients who continued on Effexor experienced a significantly longer time to relapse, compared to those patients who were switched to placebo.
Effexor is already approved to treat adults with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder.