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Free Venlafaxine Treatment for Marijuana Addiction and Depression - 1 (VEN)

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
New York State Psychiatric Institute Identifier:
First received: August 16, 2005
Last updated: April 6, 2016
Last verified: March 2016
The purpose of this study is to determine if Venlafaxine Extended Release (Ven-XR) is effective in treating individuals with marijuana addiction and depression.

Condition Intervention Phase
Marijuana Abuse
Drug: Venlafaxine
Drug: Placebo
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Marijuana Addiction and Depression: Venlafaxine Treatment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by New York State Psychiatric Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Two Consecutive Weeks of Marijuana Abstinence [ Time Frame: measured daily by self report for 12 weeks of the trial or length of study participation ]
    The primary outcome measure for marijuana use was a dichotomous abstinence response,defined as at least two consecutive urine-confirmed abstinent weeks. Each week during the study, subjects were scored as urine-confirmed abstinent if both self-reported marijuana use for that week was negative, according to the quantitative substance use daily inventory (Timeline FollowBack), and all urines collected for that week were negative for THC. Patients who achieved the two consecutive abstinent weeks were classified as abstinent whether or not they subsequently dropped out of the study. Patients who dropped out of the study without achieving two continuous weeks of abstinence were classified as not abstinent.

Enrollment: 123
Study Start Date: March 2004
Study Completion Date: December 2010
Primary Completion Date: December 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Venlafaxine
Drug: Venlafaxine
Other Name: Effexor
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Drug: Placebo

Detailed Description:

Given that depression and marijuana addiction often occur together, medications to treat individuals diagnosed with both conditions may be effective. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of Ven-XR in treating individuals diagnosed with depression and marijuana addiction.

During this twelve-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, study visits will occur twice each week. During study visits, participants will receive either placebo or medication and provide a urine sample for drug screening. Blood tests will be collected each month and women must take pregnancy tests each month. Throughout the study, all participants will receive individualized psychotherapy sessions. At each study visit, participants will be given $5 to cover transportation costs.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Meets criteria for current marijuana addiction and reports marijuana as primary drug of abuse
  • Currently meets criteria for major depression or dysthymic disorder and receive a score of greater than or equal to 12 on the Hamilton Depression Inventory
  • Clinically depressed for at least 3 months during a period of active marijuana use
  • Women of child-bearing age will be included provided that they are not pregnant, based on the results of a blood pregnancy done at the time of screening and agree to use a method of contraception with proven efficacy and not to become pregnant during the study. To confirm this, blood pregnancy tests will be repeated monthly. Women will be provided a full explanation of the potential dangers of pregnancy while on the study. If a woman becomes pregnant, the study medication will be discontinued.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Meets criteria for past manic or psychotic disorder, unless substance-related
  • History of a seizure disorder
  • Individuals with chronic organic mental syndrome
  • Any significant risk for suicide based on current assessment and history of attempts
  • History of allergic reaction to either Venlafaxine or Ven-XR
  • Unstable physical disorders that might make participation hazardous, such as uncontrolled hypertension and tachycardia (SBP>150, DBP >90, or a sitting quietly HR>100), acute hepatitis (patients with chronic mildly elevated transaminase levels (<2x upper limit of normal are acceptable) or unstable diabetes
  • History of failure to respond to a previous adequate trial of Venlafaxine of at least 300 mg. for at least a 6-week period
  • Physical dependence on any other drugs (excluding nicotine) that would require medical detoxification
  • Currently being prescribed psychotropic medication by another physician (in the last 3 weeks), except for acute treatment of insomnia.
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding
  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 identifier: NCT00131456

United States, New York
New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York, New York, United States, 10032
Sponsors and Collaborators
New York State Psychiatric Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Principal Investigator: Frances R Levin, M.D. New York State Psychiatric Institute
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: New York State Psychiatric Institute Identifier: NCT00131456     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: #4695
R01DA015451 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: August 16, 2005
Results First Received: April 18, 2013
Last Updated: April 6, 2016

Keywords provided by New York State Psychiatric Institute:
cannabis dependence

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Marijuana Abuse
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Venlafaxine Hydrochloride
Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
Antidepressive Agents
Psychotropic Drugs processed this record on April 21, 2017