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Case Study:

The client is a 46-year-old white male who works as a welder at a local steel fabrication factory. He presents today after being referred by his PCP after a trip to the emergency room in which he felt he was having a heart attack. He stated that he felt chest tightness, shortness of breath, and feeling of impending doom. He does have some mild hypertension (which is treated with low sodium diet) and is about 15 lbs. overweight. He had his tonsils removed when he was 8 years old, but his medical history since that time has been unremarkable. Myocardial infarction was ruled out in the ER and his EKG was normal. The remainder of the physical exam was WNL.
He admits that he still has problems with tightness in the chest and episodes of shortness of breath- he now terms these “anxiety attacks.” He will also report occasional feelings of impending doom, and the need to “run” or “escape” from wherever he is at.
In your office, he confesses to occasional use of ETOH to combat worries about work. He admits to consuming about 3-4 beers/night. Although he is single, he is attempting to care for aging parents in his home. He reports that the management at his place of employment is harsh, and he fears for his job. You administer the HAM-A, which yields a score of 26.
The client has never been on any type of psychotropic medication. Diagnosis is Generalized anxiety disorder.
Make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this patient. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes. Please see the decisions I made below:
Decision Point One begin buspirone 10mg orally twice a day Buspirone 10 mg orally BID


Client returns to clinic in four weeks

Client reports slight decrease in symptoms

Client states that he still feels very anxious

HAM-A score decreased from 26 to 23

Decision Point Two

Discontinue buspirone and begin Lexapro 10 mg orally daily


Client returns to clinic in four weeks

Client reports that he feels “great”

Client states that his anxiety is getting “better”

HAM-A score has decreased from 23 to 13

Client does report that he sometimes feels sleepy for a few hours after taking the medication, but “perks up” by early to midafternoon

Decision Point Three

Continue same dose of Lexapro but change administration time to bedtime

Guidance and feedback to Student
At this point, the client reports that he is feeling “great” with a decrease in symptoms from an initial HAM-A score of 26 down to 13. This represents a 50% decrease in symptoms in just 4 weeks. Recall that an adequate trial can be as long as 12 weeks, we may not need to increase the drug any more at this point as we do not know how much more the current dose will impro

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