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Prevention of Suicide in the Elderly

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00000367
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 3, 1999
Last Update Posted : October 29, 2013
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by:
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Brief Summary:

The purpose of this study is to design a program to prevent suicide in elderly patients by educating patients, their families, and physicians on depression and suicidal thoughts.

A program to prevent suicide in elderly patients needs to be developed. Since elderly patients frequently have doctor's visits, it may be best to have a suicide prevention program based in the patient's doctor's office.

When an older person visits a primary care physician, he/she will check for signs of depression, including thoughts of suicide. The doctor will speak to the patient about depression and how to recognize it. If the individual is diagnosed with depression, the doctor will offer treatment. During this study, the information the doctor collects will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The study will last for 2 years.

Eligibility for this study is age of at least 60 years and diagnosis of depression. (Depression required for 920 of the 1200 patients; 280 patients should have no symptoms of depression.)

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Depression Drug: Treatment of depression Behavioral: Suicide prevention intervention Drug: Suicide prevention treatment Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

To investigate the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving the recognition of suicidal ideation and depression in elderly patients and facilitating the implementation of a treatment algorithm based on the AHCPR (Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) guidelines. To implement procedures aimed at educating patients, families, and physicians on depression and suicidal ideation.

There is a need to test models of depression recognition and treatment to prevent and reduce suicidal behavior in older patients in primary care settings. Elderly suicide most frequently occurs in the context of mild to moderate depression. In primary care patients, suicidal ideation is a risk factor for suicide and has been identified almost exclusively in patients with depressive symptoms and signs. Since most suicide victims are seen by their primary care physicians within a few weeks prior to their death, intervening at the doctor's office may be life-saving.

The intervention is offered in 6 primary care practices from 3 geographic areas (metropolitan and suburban New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh) and its impact is contrasted to that of 6 comparable practices offering usual care. Patients are selected through an age-stratified, two-stage sampling design and followed for 2 years. The group consists of 1,200 subjects and is comprised of patients with depressive symptoms and signs and a random sample of patients without significant depressive symptomatology. Depression Specialists (DS) collaborate with physicians and help them increase recognition, offer timely and appropriately-targeted treatment recommendations, and encourage patients to adhere to treatment. Beyond direct systematic clinical assessment of patients, information is obtained on health services utilization from practice-based medical records and on cause of death from death certificates. Data are also collected to document the impact of intervention on patient care, and on physician knowledge, attitudes, and satisfaction and test hypotheses derived from preliminary studies of the three Intervention Research Centers (IRCs), Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Pittsburgh, where the study will be conducted.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Study Start Date : September 1998
Study Completion Date : August 2003

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Suicide

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:


Patients must have:

Depressive symptoms and signs. (Required for 920 of the 1200 patients; 280 patients should have no significant depressive symptomatology.)

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): NCT00000367

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United States, New York
New York Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division
White Plains, New York, United States, 10605
Sponsors and Collaborators
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Principal Investigator: George Alexopoulos, MD
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00000367    
Other Study ID Numbers: R01MH059366 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
R01MH059366 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: November 3, 1999    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 29, 2013
Last Verified: October 2013
Keywords provided by Weill Medical College of Cornell University:
Practice Guidelines
Education, Medical, Continuing
Patient Education
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Behavioral Symptoms