We're building a better ClinicalTrials.gov. Check it out and tell us what you think!
ClinicalTrials.gov Menu

Cysteamine Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00715559
Recruitment Status : Terminated (Change in resources available for study procedures.)
First Posted : July 15, 2008
Results First Posted : June 16, 2011
Last Update Posted : April 7, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
James Murrough, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to determine whether cysteamine bitartrate, an FDA-approved drug for a non-psychiatric condition, is safe and effective for the treatment of major depression.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Major Depressive Disorder Drug: cysteamine bitartrate Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a chronic, disabling illness affecting about 17% of the general population. Despite advances in treatment, about two-thirds of patients fail to respond to an initial trial of pharmacotherapy. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neural growth-promoting polypeptide found in the central nervous system, and has been implicated in the pathophysiology and potential treatment of MDD. A multitude of studies have shown low levels of BDNF in subjects with MDD, which have normalized after treatment with an antidepressant. Traditional antidepressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors may increase BDNF via an indirect intracellular pathway. The current study drug, cysteamine bitartrate (Cystagon), is FDA approved for the treatment nephropathic cystinosis and has been shown to increase BNDF in neuronal tissue, and to stimulate cell growth. Cysteamine has already been investigated in humans as a potential treatment for Huntington's Disease. Given the evidence of decreased levels in major depression, and subsequent increase post-treatment with antidepressants, BDNF may play a key role in developing novel treatments for patients who have failed conventional agents. Therefore, drugs that can demonstrably increase central BDNF, such as cysteamine, may have significant potential as novel antidepressant medications.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 3 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: An Open-Label Study of Cysteamine Bitartrate in Treatment-Resistant Major Depression
Study Start Date : July 2008
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 2009
Actual Study Completion Date : May 2009

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: cysteamine bitartrate
Participants received cysteamine bitartrate by mouth up to 300 mg three times daily.
Drug: cysteamine bitartrate
All enrolled participants will begin open treatment with cysteamine on the first visit of the experimental period (after screening, medical clearance and medication washout period if necessary). The dosing schedule is a flexible regimen starting at 150 mg PO three times daily. After one week, patients without intolerable side effects will increase the dose to 300 mg three times daily. The titration schedule will continue up to a maximum of 1800 mg a day. In case of adverse events, the investigator may decrease the dose by 150 mg daily.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ]
    This scale measures depression severity. It ranges from a score of 0 to 60, with higher score indicating higher level of depression severity.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Clinical Global Impression Scales for Severity (CGI-S) and Improvement (CGI-I) [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ]
    This set of scales measures "global" improvement in a patient's level of symptoms, without reference to a particular condition (ie depression). GCI-S is a measure of severity, which ranges from 0 (not ill) to 7 (severely ill). CGI-I is a measure of change, with a score of 4 indicating no change, 1 indicating very much improved and 7 indicating very much worse.

  2. Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (QIDS-SR16) [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ]
    This is a self-report which measures the level of depression severity. I ranges from 0 (no illness) to 27 (severe illness).

  3. Systematic Assessment for Treatment Emergent Effects (SAFTEE) [ Time Frame: weekly, for 8 weeks ]
    The SAFTEE is used to measure somatic and other symptoms which may arise during the course of a clinical trial. This is a non-quantitative instrument that does not yield a numeric score. Instead, it provides study subjects the opportunity to check off symptoms listed on a checklist and indicate if the severity of the symptoms is "mild" "moderate" or "severe." The reported values represent symptoms that were indicated at any point during the 8 week trial at a level of "moderate" or "severe" that also represented a change from a baseline-line pre-intervention SAFTEE assessment.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Male or female patients, 21-65 years of age.
  2. Female subjects who are not of childbearing potential (i.e., surgically sterile, postmenopausal for at least one year) or must be using a medically accepted means of contraception. Women using oral contraceptive medication for birth control must also be using a barrier contraceptive. Women of childbearing potential must also have a negative serum B-HCG at pre-study.
  3. Subjects must fulfill DSM-IV criteria for Major Depression without psychotic features, based on clinical assessment by a study psychiatrist and confirmed by a structured diagnostic interview, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV TR Axis I Disorders, (SCID-P).
  4. Subjects have a history of at least one previous episode of depression prior to the current episode (recurrent major depressive disorder) or have chronic major depressive disorder (at least two years' duration).
  5. Subjects have not responded to an adequate trial of one antidepressant in the current episode as determined by Antidepressant Treatment History Form (ATHF) criteria (score > 3) (Sackeim 2001)
  6. Subjects must have an initial score of ³ 32 on the IDS-C at both Visit 1 and Visit 2.
  7. Each subject must have a level of understanding sufficient to agree to all tests and examinations required by the protocol and must sign an informed consent document.
  8. Current major depressive episode is of at least 4 weeks duration

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Presence of psychotic features, diagnosis of schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder, or bipolar disorder/cyclothymia as defined in the DSM-IV.
  2. Lifetime histories of autism, mental retardation, pervasive developmental disorders, OCD, or Tourette's
  3. Current Eating Disorder
  4. Subjects with a history of DSM-IV drug or alcohol dependency or abuse (except for nicotine or caffeine) within the preceding 3 months.
  5. Female subjects who are either pregnant or nursing.
  6. Serious, unstable illnesses including hepatic, renal, respiratory, cardiovascular (including ischemic heart disease), endocrinologic, neurologic (including history of severe head injury), immunologic, or hematologic disease.
  7. Hypersensitivity to cysteamine or penicillamine
  8. Past history of severe gastrointestinal disease (including peptic ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease), or current gastroesophageal reflux disease
  9. Subjects with a history of neutropenia or medication-induced blood dyscrasia.
  10. Clinically significant abnormal findings of laboratory parameters, physical examination, or ECG.
  11. Subjects with uncorrected hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
  12. Subjects with one or more seizures without a clear and resolved etiology.
  13. Treatment with a reversible MAOI within 2 weeks prior to Visit 2.
  14. Treatment with fluoxetine within 4 weeks prior to Visit 2.
  15. Treatment with any other concomitant medication not allowed 14 days prior to study Visit 2.
  16. Treatment with clozapine or ECT within 3 months prior to study Visit 2.
  17. Judged clinically to be at serious suicidal or homicidal risk.
  18. Participation in a clinical trial of another investigational drug within 1 month prior to study entry.
  19. Patients starting hormonal treatment (e.g., estrogen) in the last 3 months prior to visit 1.
  20. Psychotherapy or nonpharmacological antidepressant treatments (e.g. light therapy

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00715559

Layout table for location information
United States, New York
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, New York, United States, 10029
Sponsors and Collaborators
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: James Murrough, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: James Murrough, Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00715559    
Other Study ID Numbers: GCO # 07-0478
First Posted: July 15, 2008    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: June 16, 2011
Last Update Posted: April 7, 2017
Last Verified: April 2017
Keywords provided by James Murrough, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:
Major depressive disorder, depression
brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms
Cystine Depleting Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action