Controlled comparison of trifluoperazine and chlordiazepoxide in the treatment of anxiety

B. L. Weiss, A. F. Jacobson, R. M. Steinbook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In order to further evaluate the efficacy of neuroleptic drugs in anxious nonpsychotic outpatients, as well as to document the incidence of short-term neuroleptic side effects in these patients, trifluoperazine was compared to chlordiazepoxide and to placebo in a four-week, double-blind study. A total of 126 outpatients began the study (42 in each group), and a battery of rating instruments was used to assess symptomatology and to record the emergence of side effects. Trifluoperazine appears to be less efficacious than chlordiazepoxide in ameliorating symptoms of anxiety. Fifty per cent of the trifluoperazine patients terminated the study prematurely, compared to 19% of the chlordiazepoxide patients and 31% of the placebo patients. Side effects were a major cause of premature termination in the trifluoperazine group. The majority of trifluoperazine patients who experienced side effects did so during the first two weeks of treatment. Drowsiness, akathisia, excitement and diarrhea were the most frequent phenothiazine side effects. Some of the apparent lack of efficacy of trifluoperazine might be due to the wide variance in individual tolerance to phenothiazine side effects. Those patients who can tolerate the side effects might experience some reduction of anxiety symptoms, whereas those more sensitive to extrapyramidal, autonomic, anticholinergic or other phenothiazine-induced side effects may do relatively poorly. In this regard, it is especially important to differentiate akathisia from the target symptoms of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-643
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Therapeutic Research - Clinical and Experimental
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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