All pharmaceutical vs. psychological treatments

What are combination treatments for PTSD?

Several beneficial treatments for PTSD are available, including pharmaceutical and psychological approaches. Treatment guidelines typically recommend psychological therapies as first-line PTSD treatment. However, some antidepressants in particular may also be used as first-line treatment. It remains uncertain whether benefit increases when combining pharmacological and psychological treatments. This topic presents the evidence for all pharmaceutical treatments compared to all psychosocial and combination therapies for PTSD.

What is the evidence on pharmaceutical versus psychological and combination interventions for PTSD?

Moderate to low quality evidence found large improvements in PTSD symptoms by last follow-up with psychotherapy and with psychotherapy + medication compared to medications alone. There were no differences between these three treatment options immediately following treatment, and no differences between combined and psychological therapies at last follow-up. There were no differences in drop-outs rates, indicating similar tolerability of all treatments.

Note that last follow-up time frames were not reported in the reviewed evidence, and treatments were not all necessarily maintained to last follow-up, so these results must be interpreted with caution.

August 2021

Image: ©Olivier Le Moal –

Last updated at: 5:01 am, 15th October 2021
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.