Medications for PTSD: PTSD Monthly Update - May 2014

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PTSD Monthly Update

In This Issue

Feature Topic

For Providers

For VA Providers

Research at the Center

PTSD in the News

May 2014 Issue


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Feature Topic

Medications for PTSD

Perscription pills and container

"Getting better" means different things for different people, and not everyone who gets evidence-based PTSD treatment will be "cured." But they will likely do better than people with PTSD who were not treated, or who received other kinds of treatment.

Certain medications are considered evidence-based treatment for PTSD. Medications can be used alone or in combination with psychotherapy.

FDA Approved Medications

Two FDA approved drugs for PTSD are sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil). These are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and are often used for depression. SSRIs raise the level of serotonin in your brain, which can make you feel better.

Answers to Questions about Meds

Talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you. Learn about options, what you need to know before taking medications, and potential side effects in Understanding PTSD Treatment. Dealing with trauma-related nightmares? Prazosin is a medication that you can discuss with your doctor. It is a relatively safe medication that can rapidly improve sleep.

To learn more about medications, check out our library of PTSD treatment videos on YouTube.

Be Cautious About the Use of Benzodiazepines

Anti-anxiety medications known as "Benzos" (such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin) should generally be avoided for PTSD treatment. Although they can produce a calming effect, they do not treat core PTSD symptoms and can have harmful side effects.

New Tools

June is PTSD Awareness Month: Learn. Connect. Share.

CPT Coach Mobile App: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based PTSD therapy that helps you decrease distress about your trauma. CPT Coach is for patients to use with their therapists during face-to-face CPT.

Also see the Prolonged Exposure treatment companion app: PE Coach and other related apps.

News and Views: A rotating feature to keep you informed of PTSD topics in the news. Current post: read about the "D" in PTSD.

Help Us Raise PTSD Awareness

June is PTSD Awareness Month: Learn. Connect. Share.

June is #PTSD Awareness Month. You can spread the word and help this cause. Prepare by visiting our PTSD Awareness section.

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For Providers

Prescribing Medications Following Trauma

Medications can be used alone or as an important adjunct to the evidenced based psychotherapies for PTSD. Our updated Clinician's Guide to Medications for PTSD discusses medications and psychotherapy, common barriers to effective medication treatment, and other considerations.

June is PTSD Awareness Month: Learn. Connect. Share.

Find a comprehensive discussion of pharmacotherapy in the VA/DoD PTSD Clinical Practice Guidelines. PTSD co-occurs with many conditions including pain and mild traumatic brain injury. Exercise caution when prescribing multiple medications, for example opioids and benzodiazepines.

Further topics to consider:

Earn CE/CMEs Learning about Medications

Please tell others about Continuing Ed Course opportunities:

From the War Zone to the Home Front Series 2014

From the War Zone to the Home Front Series 2014

Free: Join us for the final two live lectures of this series to support the mental health of Veterans and families.

Physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and counselors: Register today. Complimentary CME/CE/CEU credits available.

Thursdays at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm ET

  • 5/15 - Physical Health and Mental Health Following Deployment
  • 5/22 - Clinical Case Conference: Recognizing and Treating Mild TBI and PTSD

All sessions are recorded and available online until 2016 for credits! Watch 23 additional topics on-demand .

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For VA Providers

2014 VA PTSD Consultation Program Lecture Series

Subscribe: Learn about our PTSD Lectures

VA staff, please sign up for VA Staff PTSD Updates to receive monthly notices that include a registration link and instructions for joining the live lectures.

Next Lecture in the Series

  • 5/21 at 2 pm ET - Josef I. Ruzek, PhD on PTSD Apps and Clinical Practice

Mark your calendar for the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 2 pm ET.

Have a question about providing medications for PTSD? Contact us:

PTSD Consultation Program

Free PTSD consultation for anyone working with Veterans.
Call 866-948-7880 or

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Research at the Center

Research on Benzodiazepines

Read this research summary on The Role of Benzodiazepines in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PDF). Subscribe to the PTSD Research Quarterly to receive future issues.

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PTSD in the News

Take the Mystery out of PTSD Treatment. VA Clinicians tell you what to expect and make taking that first step a lot easier. See AboutFace and hear what they have to say.

PTSD in First Responders. Where do first responders turn to when they need help? Read more.*

NIMH Science News about PTSD. The National Institute of Mental Health keeps up with new research in the field. Read more.*

Be sure to forward this update to others so they can subscribe. We send only one update per month to keep you informed of the latest PTSD developments.

Feature Topic next month: #PTSD Awareness - Learn. Connect. Share. Help us raise awareness of PTSD and effective treatments in June during PTSD Awareness Month!

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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Produced by VA’s National Center for PTSD - Executive Division
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*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website to a non government site.
VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of these linked websites.