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Neural Correlates of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Depression

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: NCT00812227
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 22, 2008
Last Update Posted : May 13, 2013
Hope for Depression Research Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Joshua L. Roffman MD, MMSc, Massachusetts General Hospital

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to see whether we can predict which patients with depression will get better when we treat them with psychodynamic psychotherapy. We will use neuroimaging (a method of looking at brain activity) in this study. We want to see whether there are changes in the brains of patients receiving this type of therapy. We hypothesize that these changes may predict how well certain parts of the psychotherapy treatment process works.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Major Depressive Disorder Behavioral: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
In this study, we will treat patients with brief psychodynamic psychotherapy. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a type of treatment that may be as helpful as medications in treating depression. It focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as both current and past relationships. Psychotherapy explores better ways of coping with feelings, expressing needs, and interacting with others in order to cope with depression and other life problems. Subjects will go to 16 weekly, 45-minute, individual sessions of psychodynamic psychotherapy over the course of the study. At five times throughout the study, subjects will come in for extra visits, which last approximately 1.5 hours and which include: speaking with a study doctor about depressive symptoms, filling out extra questionnaires, and performing positron emission tomography (PET)and a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG). The QEEG is a machine that measures the electrical activity of the brain. This task will take approximately 15 minutes.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 35 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Neural Correlates of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Depression
Study Start Date : August 2008
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 2013
Actual Study Completion Date : February 2013

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Psychodynamic psychotherapy Behavioral: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Screened and eligible patients will receive 16 individual sessions of psychodynamic psychotherapy, each lasting 45-50 minutes.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Correlation between changes in HAMD-17 and changes in QEEG measurements (theta cordance) from treatment initiation to two weeks after starting treatment [ Time Frame: Weeks 0 through 16 ]
  2. PET: Treatment-related change in FDG metabolism within regions-of-interest identified at baseline as related to depression severity. [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 16 ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Subjects will be adults, ages 18 to 60 years;
  • Able to provide written informed consent;
  • MDD, current according to the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV);
  • QIDS-SR score of >= 12 at screen;
  • Current major depressive episode (MDE) length of < 5 year;
  • Treated with an SSRI, SNRI, or bupropion at adequate doses (defined as 20 mg/day or more of fluoxetine, citalopram, or paroxetine; 10 mg/day or more of escitalopram; 50 mg/day or more of sertraline; 75 mg/day or more of venlafaxine; 15 mg/day of mirtazapine; or 40 mg/day of duloxetine; or 100mg/day of bupropion(wellbutrin)) during the current episode for at least 8 weeks; and,
  • At the time of screen visit, patients must be on a stable dose of SSRI, SNRI, or bupropion for the past 4 weeks.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnant women or women of child bearing potential who are not using a medically accepted means of contraception (to include oral contraceptive or implant, condom, diaphragm, spermicide, intrauterine device, tubal ligation, or a partner with vasectomy). Women of childbearing age who wish to enter the study will be required to undergo a pregnancy test (beta-HCG) prior to initiating treatment; an additional blood pregnancy test (beta HCG) will be completed if subject wants to do PET scan
  • Patients who, in the investigator's judgment, pose a current, serious suicidal or homicidal risk. These patients will be immediately referred to appropriate clinical treatment;
  • Patients who, in the opinion of the therapist, are not depressed at the time of their first psychotherapy visit;
  • Patients who are currently being treated by a psychotherapist individually or who have received individual psychotherapy during the past 6 months. Couples therapy and family therapy will not be considered exclusionary criteria;
  • Patients with neurological illnesses, including a history of seizure or head trauma with loss of consciousness;
  • Patients with unstable diabetes, kidney disease, or significant medical illness;
  • Patients with history of allergy to FDG
  • The following DSM-IV diagnoses: substance use disorders active within the last six months, any bipolar disorder (current or past), any psychotic disorder (current or past), any post-traumatic stress disorder (current or past), any obsessive compulsive disorder (current or past), or any panic disorder (current, past allowed). Generalized anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder are not exclusionary;
  • Patients currently requiring other psychotropic medications, including anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, stimulants, or sedative hypnotics (other than diphenhydramine);however, patients will be permitted to take trazodone in addition to their primary antidepressant if it is taken as a sleep aid, rather than a primary antidepressant;
  • Psychotic features in the current episode, or a history of psychotic features, as assessed by SCID;
  • Patients who have undergone > 3 previous adequate attempts at psychodynamic psychotherapy (deemed "adequate" by the screening physician), which were considered unhelpful or unsuccessful by patient report (according to patient report);
  • Patients with a history of antidepressant-induced hypomania; and
  • Patients with a history of medication non-compliance.
  • Patients with Axis II pathology (personality disorder) that, in the opinion of the screening physician, would interfere with subjects' ability to participate in the treatment and/or comply with the protocol, such as severe borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.
  • Patients who have had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) within the 12 months preceding baseline

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): NCT00812227

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United States, Massachusetts
Depression Clinical and Research Program
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
Hope for Depression Research Foundation
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Principal Investigator: Joshua Roffman, MD Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry
Principal Investigator: Janet Witte, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry
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Responsible Party: Joshua L. Roffman MD, MMSc, Staff psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00812227    
Other Study ID Numbers: 2008-P-001181
First Posted: December 22, 2008    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 13, 2013
Last Verified: May 2013
Keywords provided by Joshua L. Roffman MD, MMSc, Massachusetts General Hospital:
Subjects with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders