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Paxil helps compulsive hoarding syndrome

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The serotonin reuptake inhibitor medication paroxetine is effective in treating patients with compulsive hoarding syndrome, say California researchers.

Dr. Sanjaya Saxena, director of the obsessive-compulsive disorders program at the University of California, San Diego, completed a study of 79 patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, with 32 of them with compulsive hoarding syndrome.

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Saxena's study, comparing the hoarding and non-hoarding OCD patients, showed nearly identical responses to paroxetine -- commonly known as Paxil. The symptoms exhibited by patients in both groups improved significantly with treatment.

Compulsive hoarding patients exhibit three core features: failure to discard objects due to severe anxiety related to discarding what most might regard as inconsequential objects; excessive acquisition, sometimes resulting in buying sprees; and excessive clutter to the point where home and work spaces can no longer be used.

"The syndrome is driven by obsessional fears of not having items you might need, or of losing something valuable, as well as overly sentimental attachments to objects," said Saxena.

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