At the request of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) undertook a systematic review of the PTSD literature. After nearly 2,800 abstracts were identified, the application of inclusion criteria narrowed the list down to 90 randomized clinical trials, 37 pharmacotherapy studies, and 53 psychotherapy studies.
The principal finding of the committee is that the scientific evidence on treatment modalities for PTSD does not reach the level of certainty that would be desired for such a common and serious condition among veterans. Most studies included in the committee's review were characterized by methodologic limitations, some serious enough to affect confidence in the studies' results. The committee reached a strong consensus that additional high quality research is essential for every treatment modality.