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CBT, medication and the combination are effective for childhood anxiety
  1. Lynn M Hana,
  2. Elizabeth McIngvale,
  3. Michelle Davis,
  4. Eric A Storch
  1. Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Eric A Storch, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA; eric.storch{at}

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Commentary on: Wang Z, Whiteside SPH, Sim L, et al. Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Childhood Anxiety Disorders. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics. 2017;171:1049–56.

What is already known on this topic?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders among children1 and adolescents,2 characterised by excessive and persistent fear and anxiety that is difficult to control and negatively impacts daily life.3 Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often recommended as first-line interventions in reducing anxiety symptoms and improving function,4 however, comparative effectiveness has not been determined.

Methods of the study

The present study5 conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on effectiveness and safety of CBT, pharmacotherapy, and the combination for childhood anxiety disorders. Studies were included if (1) They treated children or adolescents between the ages of 3 years and 18 years with one or more diagnosed anxiety disorder (excluding trials solely treating PTSD or OCD). (2) They received CBT or any medication …

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  • Contributors The first author took the lead in writing the manuscript. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the analysis and commentary.

  • Competing interests EAS receives research support from NIH and the International OCD Foundation. He has received royalties from Elsevier Publications, Springer Publications, American Psychological Association, Wiley, Inc, and Lawrence Erlbaum. He has served as a consultant for Rijuin Hospital, China and Levo Pharmaceuticals. He is on the Speaker’s Bureau and Scientific Advisory Board for the International OCD Foundation. EM is on the board of directors for the International OCD Foundation and the Peace of Mind Foundation. All other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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