FDA has approved the prescription drug clomipramine for the treatment of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
People with this disorder have recurrent ideas, thoughts, images, or impulses that they know are irrational but cannot control. They also engage in repetitive actions such as excessive hand-washing, which they also recognize as irrational.
Psychodierapy, behavior therapy, and various drugs have been used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder without much success. Clomipramine is the first substantially effective drug treatment.
The drug's most serious side effect is seizure, which may occur in about 1.5 percent of treated patients each year. Other possible side effects include dry mouth, constipation, increased appetite, decreased sex drive, ejaculation failure, and impotence.
The drug is manufactured by Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals of Summit, N.J., and will be marketed under the trade name Anafranil.
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