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Buspirone Treatment of Anxiety in Williams Syndrome

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04807517
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 19, 2021
Last Update Posted : July 28, 2022
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Robyn P. Thom, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to do a preliminary assessment of whether buspirone is effective, safe, and tolerable in the treatment of anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults with Williams syndrome.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Williams Syndrome Anxiety Drug: Buspirone Phase 4

Detailed Description:
After being informed about the study and potential risks, all patients or their legal guardians giving written informed consent will be screened for study eligibility. Patients who meet the eligibility requirements will participate in a 16-week, flexibly-dosed, open-label trial of buspirone. The dose of buspirone will be adjusted over the first 12 weeks of the study and a stable dose will be maintained for the final four weeks of the trial. Adverse effects will be reviewed at each visit and standardized measures of anxiety will be conducted at weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 20 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Buspirone for the Treatment of Anxiety in Williams Syndrome
Actual Study Start Date : August 1, 2021
Estimated Primary Completion Date : May 2025
Estimated Study Completion Date : May 2025

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Buspirone
Subjects will receive buspirone 2.5 mg each morning at the start of the trial. The dose will be increased by 2.5 mg per week in two divided doses daily depending on effectiveness and tolerability. The optimal dose will be reached by week 12 of treatment. The minimum starting dose will be 2.5 mg and the maximum total daily dose will be 30 mg. Medication will be dosed twice daily due to the short half-life (2-3 hours) of this medication.
Drug: Buspirone
All participants in the study will receive open-label treatment with orally administered buspirone for the full duration of the 16-week trial. Buspirone has high affinity for serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT2 receptors and moderate affinity for dopamine D2 receptors. It is approved for the management of generalized anxiety disorder in adults.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Mean 16-Week Change in Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale 5-Item Total Score [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16 ]
    The Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS) is a clinician-rated instrument that assesses anxiety symptoms that are commonly associated with social anxiety, separation anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorders. Scaled score ranges from 0-25 with higher scores indicating more severe anxiety symptoms.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Proportion of Participants Who Responded to Treatment at 16 Weeks According to the Improvement Item of the Clinical Global Impression-Scale (Response Defined as CGI-I=1 or CGI-I=2) [ Time Frame: Weeks 4, 8, 12, 16 ]
    The Clinical Global Impressions Global Improvement (CGI-I) is designed to take into account all factors to arrive at an assessment of response to treatment. The CGI-I scale ranges from 1 to 7 (1=very much improved; 2=much improved; 3=minimally improved; 4=no change; 5=minimally worse; 6=much worse; 7=very much worse), with lower scales indicating improvement (1=very much improved; 2=much improved). In this study, the CGI-I will be focused on the target symptom of anxiety. Participants with a CGI-I score of 1 or 2 will be classified as responders. The CGI-I will be administered at weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16.

  2. Mean 16-Week Change in Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory Anxiety-Modified Score [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16 ]
    The Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory (CASI) is a caregiver completed questionnaire with items that map directly onto Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. The CASI-Modified which includes 20 specific items that have been used to assess anxiety in subjects with developmental disabilities will be administered. Total score ranges from 0-20 with higher scores indicating more severe anxiety symptoms.

  3. Mean 16-Week Change in Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders Total Score [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16 ]
    The Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) includes both a child/self-report and parent-report form, each containing 41-items. It is used to screen for symptoms of panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and school phobia. Total score ranges from 0-82 and a total score of 25 or greater may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder.

  4. Mean 16-Week Change in Each Subscale of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16 ]
    The Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC-2) is a caregiver rated instrument that measures psychiatric symptoms and behavioral disturbance in subjects with developmental disability with 5 subscales: Irritability, Social Withdrawal/Lethargy, Stereotypy, Hyperactivity, and Inappropriate Speech. Each item of the 58-item scale is scored on a 4-point scale (0=never a problem to 3=severe problem). The interpretation of the tool and its sub-scales is that a greater number of items indicates greater severity. The range of scores per subscale are: Irritability 0-45; Social Withdrawal/Lethargy 0-48; Stereotypy 0-21; Hyperactivity 0-48; Inappropriate Speech 0-12.

  5. Mean 16-Week Change in Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Global Score [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16 ]
    The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire that will be completed by the subject's caregiver to assess sleep quality. The global score ranges from 0-21, where a higher score indicates greater sleep difficulty.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   5 Years to 65 Years   (Child, Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Age 5 to 65 years of age.
  2. Diagnosis of WS confirmed via genetic testing or a clinical diagnosis made by a clinician with significant experience treating patients with WS.
  3. Clinically significant anxiety as evidenced by a Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS) score of 10 or greater (5-item scale). The PARS ("The Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS): Development and psychometric properties." 2002) was chosen as an inclusion criterion (and outcome measure) since it assesses severity across common anxiety disorders in children including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, and transition-associated anxiety. In addition, it is an instrument that allows the clinician to incorporate both child and parent report into a final clinician-rated score for each item.
  4. A Clinical Global Impression Severity Item score ≥ 4 (moderate) for anxiety symptoms at Screen and Baseline.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Diagnosis of OCD, posttraumatic stress disorder, major mood disorder, psychotic disorder, or substance use disorder. These disorders are exclusionary since the primary treatment of these disorders may require acute psychosocial treatments or other medications that would confound the assessments.
  2. Presence of any past or present conditions that would make treatment with buspirone unsafe. This includes allergy to buspirone, liver or kidney disease, and pregnancy (or being sexually active without using acceptable methods to prevent pregnancy).
  3. Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, antihistamines (as needed use of an antihistamine for the treatment of allergies will be permitted), or antipsychotics. Subjects will need to be off medications from these classes for at least 5 elimination half-lives prior to beginning the trial.
  4. Use of other psychotropic medications which are ineffective, poorly tolerated, or sub-optimal in terms of dose. A board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist will assess any other psychotropic medications being used and determine whether they are effective, tolerated, and optimal in terms of dose. Concurrent use of a psychotropic medication (other than SSRIs, SNRIs, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, or antipsychotics) will be allowed if the dose has been stable for 30 days and if they meet the criteria of effectiveness, tolerability, and dose.
  5. Previous adequate trial of buspirone. An adequate trial will be defined as a total daily dose of ≥20 mg for at least 4 weeks. In addition, subjects who developed significant adverse effects during a trial of buspirone at any dose or duration will be excluded.
  6. Severe or profound intellectual disability based on clinical assessment and review of standardized assessment of cognitive skills. Subjects will undergo standardized testing and be evaluated by study staff to determine cognitive capabilities. Participants determined to have severe or profound intellectual disability will be excluded.

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): NCT04807517

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Contact: Jennifer Mullett 781-860-1711 LurieCenterResearch@partners.org

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United States, Massachusetts
Lurie Center for Autism Recruiting
Lexington, Massachusetts, United States, 02421
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
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Principal Investigator: Robyn P Thom, MD Massachusetts General Hospital
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Responsible Party: Robyn P. Thom, M.D., Instructor of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04807517    
Other Study ID Numbers: 2021P000376
First Posted: March 19, 2021    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 28, 2022
Last Verified: July 2022

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: Yes
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Williams Syndrome
Anxiety Disorders
Pathologic Processes
Mental Disorders
Intellectual Disability
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Aortic Stenosis, Supravalvular
Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic Valve Disease
Heart Valve Diseases
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Chromosome Disorders
Congenital Abnormalities
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Anti-Anxiety Agents
Tranquilizing Agents
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Psychotropic Drugs
Serotonin Receptor Agonists
Serotonin Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action