Prospective Study of the Effectiveness of Paroxetine on the Onset of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and Health and Functional Outcomes After Trauma

Joseph Borrelli, Adam J Starr, Dana L. Downs, Carol S North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the administration of medication for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to injured trauma survivors prevents or mitigates PTSD. DESIGN: Double-blinded, placebo-controlled. SETTING: Level I trauma center. PATIENTS: One hundred twenty patients admitted for traumatic orthopaedic injury. INTERVENTION: Either paroxetine or placebo starting 2 weeks postinjury. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: PTSD symptoms were measured with the PTSD Checklist for DSM-IV. The Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS) assessed the presence and severity of DSM-IV-TR major depressive symptoms. The SF-36 measured postinjury quality of life and social functioning. The Short Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment rated postinjury musculoskeletal function. RESULTS: The paroxetine group did not differ from the placebo group in proportions with PTSD as assessed at the 6- or 12-month follow-up or in proportions with major depression symptoms since the injury as assessed at the 3-month follow-up. The groups also did not differ at the 8-week follow-up in the amount of change from baseline in QIDS scores. The paroxetine group had a marginally greater increase from baseline in SF-36 functioning score at the 12-month follow-up as compared with the placebo group and a marginally greater reduction from baseline in Short Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment musculoskeletal functioning at the 12-month follow-up as compared with the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest the potential for psychotropic medication to prevent or reduce posttraumatic stress symptoms and to improve the function and health of trauma patients. Further research is needed to confirm paroxetine's use for this purpose. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e58-e63
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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