Treatment of anxiety disorders in clinical practice: a critical overview of recent systematic evidence
The aim of this study was to review emerging evidence of novel treatments for anxiety disorders. We searched PubMed and EMBASE for evidence-based therapeutic alternatives for anxiety disorders in adults, covering the past five years. Eligible articles were systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis), which evaluated treatment effectiveness of either nonbiological or biological interventions for anxiety disorders. Retrieved articles were summarized as an overview. We assessed methods, quality of evidence, and risk of bias of the articles. Nineteen systematic reviews provided information on almost 88 thousand participants, distributed across 811 clinical trials. Regarding the interventions, 11 reviews investigated psychological or nonbiological treatments; 5, pharmacological or biological; and 3, more than one type of active intervention. Computerdelivered psychological interventions were helpful for treating anxiety of low-to-moderate intensity, but the therapist-oriented approaches had greater results. Recommendations for regular exercise, mindfulness, yoga, and safety behaviors were applicable to anxiety. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, medication augmentation, and new pharmacological agents (vortioxetine) presented inconclusive benefits in patients with anxiety disorders who presented partial responses or refractoriness to standard treatment. New treatment options for anxiety disorders should only be provided to the community after a thorough examination of their efficacy.