Methylphenidate for Depressed Cancer Patients Receiving Palliative Care

This study has been completed.
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
Oregon Health and Science University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00129467
First received: August 9, 2005
Last updated: April 15, 2014
Last verified: April 2014
  Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine whether methylphenidate is an effective treatment for depression and to document the safety and tolerability of methylphenidate in combination with an Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) in SSRI treated, terminally ill, hospice and palliative care cancer patients. The investigators hypothesize that depressed hospice and palliative care patients will be more likely to have a 50% reduction in scores on a clinical measure of depression after treatment with Methylphenidate plus an SSRI compared to those patients who are taking a placebo plus an SSRI.


Condition Intervention
Depression
Palliative Care
Cancer
Mental Disorder
Drug: Methylphenidate
Drug: Placebo
Drug: Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Methylphenidate for Depressed Cancer Patients in Hospice

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Days to Remission of Depression [ Time Frame: 18 Days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Days to a 50% or greater reduction in initial Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score.


Enrollment: 47
Study Start Date: February 2005
Study Completion Date: December 2010
Primary Completion Date: September 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: methylphenidate + SSRI
During the 18-day blind treatment period, subjects will be prescribed methylphenidate 5-10 mg twice per day and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Subjects already receiving a SSRI when they begin the study, will continue on the recommended dose of that SSRI; subjects not receiving a SSRI will be prescribed 10-20 mg per day Citalopram. Subjects who respond to methylphenidate treatment will have the option of continuing on methylphenidate, up to 15 mg bid, and an antidepressant in the 6 week open label portion of the study.
Drug: Methylphenidate

Subjects will take methylphenidate 5 mg twice daily (bid) for 3 days, then 10 mg bid for the remainder of the study. Should a subject have a 50% decrease in their depressive symptoms as measured by the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at the initial dose of methylphenidate, they will be maintained at that lower dose as long as their MADRS score remains reduced by 50%. During the 18-day blinded treatment period the total daily dose will not exceed 20 mg.

If subjects have side effects when increasing to 10 mg bid, they will drop back to 5 mg bid. If the participant develops psychosis or cardiac events, they will be discontinued from methylphenidate.

Subjects who receive methylphenidate and respond with a 50% reduction in MADRS score will have the option to continue in the open label portion of the study for up to 6 weeks. For patients taking methylphenidate 10 mg bid whose MADRS score is > 10 at day 18, the dose may be increased to 15 mg bid.

Other Name: Ritalin
Drug: Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

Each subject will be treated with a SSRI. Patients who are taking an SSRI at the time of enrollment will continue on the same medication during the 18-day blind treatment period. The prescribed dose will only be adjusted if it is more than the highest dose in the recommended range (fluoxetine to 40 mg, paroxetine to 40 mg, citalopram to 40 mg, sertraline to 150 mg). Patients who are not on a SSRI at the time of enrollment will be prescribed citalopram 10 mg per day for 2 weeks, then 20 mg per day.

A subject's SSRI may be discontinued if the subject experiences moderate to severe side effects likely attributable to a SSRI. If subjects experience similar symptoms when increasing their citalopram dose to 20 mg per day, they will drop back to 10 mg per day. During the open label extension, the SSRI may be increased, decreased, or changed to a different SSRI or other antidepressant with the exception of venlafaxine and bupropion

Other Name: Celexa
Placebo Comparator: Placebo + SSRI
During the 18-day blind treatment period, subjects will be prescribed placebo 1-2 capsules twice per day and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Subjects already receiving a SSRI when they begin the study, will continue on the recommended dose of that SSRI; subjects not receiving a SSRI will be prescribed 10-20 mg per day Citalopram.
Drug: Placebo

Subjects assigned to placebo will receive 1 capsule of placebo twice per day (bid) for 3 days and then 2 capsules bid for the remainder of the study. Should a subject have a 50% decrease in their depressive symptoms as measured by the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at the initial dose of placebo, they will be maintained at that lower dose as long as their MADRS score remains reduced by 50%.

If subjects have side effects when increasing the dose to 2 capsules bid, they will drop back to 1 capsule bid. If the participant develops psychosis or cardiac events, they will be discontinued from the intervention.

Drug: Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

Each subject will be treated with a SSRI. Patients who are taking an SSRI at the time of enrollment will continue on the same medication during the 18-day blind treatment period. The prescribed dose will only be adjusted if it is more than the highest dose in the recommended range (fluoxetine to 40 mg, paroxetine to 40 mg, citalopram to 40 mg, sertraline to 150 mg). Patients who are not on a SSRI at the time of enrollment will be prescribed citalopram 10 mg per day for 2 weeks, then 20 mg per day.

A subject's SSRI may be discontinued if the subject experiences moderate to severe side effects likely attributable to a SSRI. If subjects experience similar symptoms when increasing their citalopram dose to 20 mg per day, they will drop back to 10 mg per day. During the open label extension, the SSRI may be increased, decreased, or changed to a different SSRI or other antidepressant with the exception of venlafaxine and bupropion

Other Name: Celexa

Detailed Description:

Background: Major depressive disorder can be diagnosed in between 5% and 26% of terminally ill patients. This disorder causes suffering, and is associated with suicidality, increased pain, and increased caregiver burden and caregiver depression. Treatment of depression in cancer patients in hospice and palliative care is complicated by shortened life expectancy. Currently-approved antidepressants take several weeks to be effective. Methylphenidate has been reported in case series and very small randomized trials in patients without cancer as a rapidly effective treatment for depression in medically ill patients. There are no randomized controlled trials to test this agent in terminally ill cancer patients.

Objectives: (1) To determine the effectiveness and safety of methylphenidate for depression treatment in cancer patients receiving hospice and palliative care, (2) to explore whether successful treatment of depression is associated with improved quality of life, and (3) to explore whether effective treatment of depression influences caregiver depression and caregiver burden.

Methods: We will conduct an 18-day randomized, double-blind, fixed-dose (10 mg bid), placebo-controlled clinical trial of methylphenidate for depression in eligible veteran and non-veteran cancer patients with advanced cancer in the following settings: inpatient and outpatient hospice, inpatient and outpatient palliative care, and inpatient and outpatient cancer clinics. We will determine whether improvement in depression is mediated by decreased pain and document the safety and tolerability of methylphenidate in these patients. We will explore whether improvement in depression results in improved quality of life for these patients, and decreases caregiver depression and burden.

Eligible patients who answer yes to the question "are you sad or depressed" will be invited to participate. They will complete measures of depression [Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis (SCID), Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) as primary outcome, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) as secondary outcome], quality of life, pain, and cognition at baseline. MADRS scores must be greater than 19 and SCID positive for depression at study entry. Subjects will be randomized to either methylphenidate plus an SSRI, or placebo plus an SSRI. Subjects may continue any previously prescribed SSRI, or will be prescribed citalopram if untreated. Participants will be evaluated with the same measures as baseline on days 3, 6, 12 and 18 of the study. In an open label portion of the study, methylphenidate-treated patients whose depression has improved will be followed up to 2 months. Cox proportional hazard analysis will be used to analyze the primary outcome. An estimated 104 subjects will be entered over five years. Caregivers will complete measures of depression and caregiver burden at days 0 and 18.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

Inclusion:

  • Either enrolled in the OHSU radiology/oncology clinic or VA palliative care, and living within 120 miles of the Portland VAMC.
  • Life-limiting disease is any type of solid or blood cancer.
  • Eighteen years of age or older.
  • Life expectancy of 1 year or less as reflected by hospice admission or palliative care status. Although exact life expectancy can not be predicted, actively dying patients with estimated life expectancy of < 10 days are unlikely to be enrolled.
  • Diagnosis of major depression disorder as determined by the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis (SCID).
  • Significant depressive cognitive symptomatology as determined by a MADRS greater than 19.
  • Currently taking an SSRI but still depressed enough to meet eligibility criteria or not taking SSRI but depressed enough to start on SSRI.
  • Willing and able to give informed consent to participate in this study as demonstrated by the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for clinical research.
  • Speaks/understands English.
  • For patients at home who cannot self-administer medications, has a caregiver who can assist with administering medication.

Exclusion Criteria:

Exclusion:

  • Dementia or Delirium as determined by the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) score of less than 7.
  • Diagnosis of delirium as determined by the Confusional Assessment Method (CAM).
  • Any of the following Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) items rated 4 -, elated mood, suspiciousness, hallucinations, excitement, distractibility or motor hyperactivity.
  • Severe insomnia.
  • Severe anxiety.
  • Significant suicidal ideation.
  • History of current mental disorder in which depressive symptoms occur, but for which psychostimulants are contraindicated (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder will be based on history; active psychotic symptoms on selected BPRS items).
  • History of stimulant abuse or other active, severe substance abuse.
  • Contraindications to methylphenidate or an SSRI including significant cardiac arrhythmias; uncontrolled, severe hypertension; moderate-severe angina; seizure disorder; severe COPD; use of medications such as Levodopa, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and lithium; diagnosis of narrow-angle glaucoma; or history of SSRI-induced hyponatremia,.
  • Physical symptoms including increased blood pressure (DBP greater than 115, SBP greater than 180), pulse greater than 120, irregular pulse, or chest pain consistent with angina.
  • Treatment for depression with a non-SSRI antidepressant including Bupropion and Venlafaxine during protocol.
  • Known serum creatinine > 3.0, or severe liver disease as reflected by jaundice or hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Unable to swallow pills, however if patient has gastrostomy tube or feeding tube in place the study medicines may be administered by this route. Pills may be poured into food.
  • Receiving hospice care in a skilled nursing facility.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00129467

Locations
United States, Oregon
VA Medical Center, Portland
Portland, Oregon, United States, 97239-2964
Sponsors and Collaborators
Oregon Health and Science University
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Linda K. Ganzini, MD MPH Portland VA Medical Center
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00129467     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: IIR 03-194, 01153, 10-0603, CPC-04115-LX
Study First Received: August 9, 2005
Results First Received: October 16, 2013
Last Updated: April 15, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:
Depression
Hospice Care
Antidepressive Agents
Methylphenidate
Central Nervous System Stimulant
Pain
Caregiver Burden
Cancer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mental Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Depression
Depressive Disorder
Schizophrenia and Disorders with Psychotic Features
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Methylphenidate
Antidepressive Agents
Serotonin
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Pharmacologic Actions
Central Nervous System Agents
Therapeutic Uses
Psychotropic Drugs
Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
Dopamine Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Serotonin Receptor Agonists
Serotonin Agents

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on July 29, 2014