MAY - The antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) can help patients suffering from debilitating shyness, a study at the Medical University of South Carolina has shown.
The evidence is promising but not definitive, says Dr. Donald Klein, a psychiatrist with the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The drug, a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, works by blocking the natural reabsorption of serotonin in the brain.
Doctors are not sure of serotonin's exact role in depression and shyness, but say it is in some way related. In the South Carolina study, 11 patients who suffered from debilitating shyness took Zoloft (50 to 200 mg daily) for eight weeks. All but one reported improvement.
A related study in Madison, Wis., found similar results. Side effects were minor and included dry mouth, nausea and diarrhea. The manufacturer, Pfizer, has no plans, however, to market Zoloft as a shyness pill.
Reprinted with permission.
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