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Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Identifier:
First received: July 20, 2001
Last updated: September 24, 2009
Last verified: September 2006
STAR*D focuses on non-psychotic major depressive disorder in adults who are seen in outpatient settings. The primary purpose of this research study is to determine which treatments work best if the first treatment with medication does not produce an acceptable response. Participants will first receive citalopram, an SSRI medication; if symptoms remain after 8-12 weeks of treatment, up to four other levels of treatment will be offered, including cognitive therapy and other medications. There are no placebo treatments. Some patients may require a combination of two or more treatments to obtain full benefit. Participation could last from 15 to 27 months and involve up to 30 clinic visits. Participants will be interviewed by telephone throughout the study about their symptoms, daily functioning, treatment side effects, use of the health care system, and satisfaction with treatment. There will be a one-year follow up for participants once their depression has been successfully treated

Condition Intervention Phase
Drug: citalopram
Drug: BuproprionSR
Drug: buspirone
Drug: Lithium
Drug: mirtazapine
Drug: nortriptyline
Drug: sertraline
Drug: tranylcypromine
Drug: VenlafaxineXR
Behavioral: Cognitive Therapy
Drug: T3 (Triiodothyronine)
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression

Further study details as provided by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

Estimated Enrollment: 4000
Study Start Date: July 2001
Estimated Study Completion Date: September 2006
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Detailed Description:

The STAR*D project will enroll 4,000 outpatients (ages 18 -75) diagnosed with nonpsychotic Major Depressive Disorder. Participants will be initially treated (open label) with citalopram, the Level 1 treatment, for a minimum of 8 weeks. Patients who experience minimal benefit will be strongly encouraged to complete 12 weeks of treatment in order to maximize the chances of symptom remission (unless no benefit at all is seen after 8 weeks). All participants will also receive a brief depression educational program.

At each level change, participants will be asked to indicate the unacceptability of the potential treatment strategies (e.g, to augment or to switch medications). Participants will then be eligible for random assignment to one of the acceptable and medically safe treatment options.

Level 2: Participants who either did not have an adequate response to or could not tolerate citalopram are eligible for Level 2. The Level 2 treatment strategies are:

i) Medication and Psychotherapy Switch: switch to sertraline, venlafaxineXR, bupropionSR, or cognitive therapy (CT).

ii) Medication and Psychotherapy Augmentation: add to citalopram either a) buspirone, b) bupropionSR, or c) CT.

iii) Medication Only Switch or Medication Only Augmentation options are available for participants for whom CT is unacceptable.

iv)Psychotherapy Only Switch or Psychotherapy Only Augmentation options are available for participants for whom additional medication is unacceptable at this point in the study (participants must be willing to continue citalopram)

Level 2A: Participants without a satisfactory response to their Level 2 treatment are eligible for random assignment to additional treatment at Level 2A (if medically safe and acceptable). Level 2A is included so that all participants entering Level 3 have had an opportunity to respond to at least 2 medications. Level 2A consists of Medication Switch to one of two antidepressant medications (venlafaxineXR or bupropion SR).

Level 3: Participants without satisfactory response to Level 2 and,if appropriate Level 2A, are eligible for random assignment to one of the following treatments (if acceptable and medically safe):

i) Medication Switch to: a) mirtazapine or b) nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant.

ii) Medication Augmentation: Add (to current Level 2 or Level 2A medication) either: a) lithium or b) thyroid hormone (T3).

Level 4: Participants without an adequate response to Level 3 are eligible for random assignment to Level 4 treatment (if acceptable and medically safe). Level 4 includes two Medication Switch options: to tranylcypromine [a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)], or to mirtazapine plus venlafaxineXR.

After Level 4, participants without an adequate response will discuss other acceptable treatment options with their physician.

Once an adequate response is achieved at Levels 2, 2A, 3 or 4, participants are eligible to enter the 12-month follow-up, during which time they will remain on their current treatment(s) and will be asked about their symptoms and other relevant information monthly by telephone. ONLY PATIENTS BEING TREATED AT THE PARTICIPATING CLINICS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS STUDY.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
- Outpatients aged 18 to 75 years old with nonpsychotic major depressive disorder (HAMD score 14 or greater)
  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: NCT00021528

  Show 41 Study Locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Study Director: A. John Rush, MD University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Psychiatry
  More Information

Additional Information:
Gilmer WS, Kemp DE. STAR*D: What Have We Learned Thus Far? International Drug Therapy Newsletter 41:75-82, 2006.
Friedman EF, Thase ME, Biggs MM, Carmin C, Hollon SD, Kornblith SJ, Petersen T, Veenstra G, Wisniewski SR, and Rush AJ. The implementation of cognitive therapy in STAR*D. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 28:819-833, 2004.
Gaynes, B.N., Davis, L., Rush A.J., Trivedi, M., Fava, M., Wisniewski, S.R. The aims and design of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. Primary Psychiatry, 12(2):36-41, 2005.
Friedman EF, Thase ME, Biggs MM, Carmin C, Hollon SD, Kornblith SJ, Petersen T, Veenstra G, Wisniewski SR, Rush AJ. The implementation of cognitive therapy in STAR*D. Cognit Ther Res 2004;28:819-33.
Gaynes BN, Davis L, Rush AJ, Trivedi MH, Fava M, Wisniewski SR. The aims and design of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. Primary Psychiatry 2005;12(2):36-41.

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number): Identifier: NCT00021528     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: N01 MH90003
Study First Received: July 20, 2001
Last Updated: September 24, 2009

Keywords provided by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
Sequential Treatment
Major Depression
Treatment Resistant Depression

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Antidepressive Agents
Psychotropic Drugs
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Serotonin Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
Adrenergic Agents
Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Anti-Anxiety Agents
Tranquilizing Agents
Central Nervous System Depressants
Serotonin Receptor Agonists processed this record on May 25, 2017