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Imaging Antidepressant vs. Cognitive Behavior Therapy Effects on Unipolar Depression (ssrifMRI)

This study has been completed.
The Pittsburgh Foundation
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Greg Siegle, University of Pittsburgh Identifier:
First received: November 5, 2008
Last updated: February 2, 2016
Last verified: February 2016
Our goals are 1) to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to predict which depressed individuals will respond to different validated treatments for unipolar depression including Cognitive Therapy (CT) and antidepressant medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; SSRIs) and 2) to understand whether CT and SSRIs affect similar aspects of brain function underlying cognition and emotion. Thus, we will examine depressed adults ages 18-55 using fMRI during cognitive and emotional information processing tasks, before and after treatment with an SSRI (n=25) or CT (n=40). We hypothesize that: 1) Recovery will occur in treatment with an SSRI primarily for individuals with increased reactivity in limbic brain regions associated with emotion generation and prefrontal regions associated with regulation,. 2) Recovery with CT will occur for patients with increased activity in brain regions associated with emotion generation but decreased activity in prefrontal regions associated with emotion regulation. 3) Recovery with an SSRI will yield similar changes in brain function to CT in brain regions associated with emotion generation but less change in brain regions responsible for emotion regulation such as the prefrontal cortex. Findings from this study may have a profound impact on reducing the burden of clinical depression by providing evidenced-based diagnostic and treatment guidelines.

Condition Intervention Phase
Major Depressive Disorder
Drug: SSRI
Behavioral: CBT
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Imaging Antidepressant vs. Cognitive Behavior Therapy Effects on Unipolar Depression

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Pittsburgh:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Treatment outcome will be assessed on a variety of dimensions including change in symptoms, self-reported rumination, behavioral performance on cognitive tasks, and physiological reactivity to emotional information processing tasks. [ Time Frame: 14-16 weeks ]

Enrollment: 98
Study Start Date: June 2008
Study Completion Date: July 2011
Primary Completion Date: July 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: SSRIs
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Drug: SSRI
SSRI: 25 patients will receive 14 weeks of an FDA approved selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), administered under the supervision of a staff psychiatrist. After an initial 30-45 minute session patients will be seen for 15-30 minute sessions for 16-20 sessions over 14 weeks. Medication will begin with 10mg escitalopram daily (or its equivalent), increased to 30 mg/day (or its equivalent) by week 6 if pt has not achieved a minimum level of response (i.e., CGI < 2) and tolerability is adequate. Nonresponse at week 10 (CGI < 2) will be cause for medication switch or augmentation.
Other Names:
  • Lexapro
  • escitalopram
  • Prozac
  • fluoxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Zoloft
Active Comparator: CBT
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Behavioral: CBT
Cognitive Behavior Therapy: 40 patients will receive 16- 20 60 minute sessions of procedurally determined Cognitive Therapy (Beck, 1979) over 14 weeks. Patients will begin with 2 sessions per week which may be reduced to once per week in the latter part of the study period if the patient is responding to the therapy. Cognitive Therapy is designed to teach skills that help to reduce depressive severity. Each session will be videotaped and will include homework to be completed and brought to the following session.
Other Names:
  • CT
  • Cognitive Therapy

Detailed Description:
Same as above.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 55 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV criteria for major depressive disorder (one or more lifetime episodes, separated by at least two months of a return to normal functioning, in a current episode).
  2. Male or female outpatients between the ages of 18 and 55 at time of enrollment.
  3. Females only must be surgically sterile, post-menopausal for at least one year, or not pregnant and using a method of birth control that is acceptable to the investigator.
  4. Have a total score of 14 or more on the first 17-items of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression at both the initial and secondary interviews.
  5. Be in reasonably good health. Patients with hypothyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic respiratory, or other medical conditions may be considered candidates for study enrollment at the discretion of the investigator if their conditions are stable, they have been receiving standard therapies for the treatment of the condition, the prescribed dose and regiment of medication has been stable for at least 3 months, and all appropriate clinical and lab parameters are within normal limits for the condition that are clinically acceptable to the investigator
  6. Be free of prescription psychotropic medications for two weeks (four weeks for fluoxetine) before study entry.
  7. Provide written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Being unable to complete questionnaires written in English, representing an active suicide risk (see below), active alcohol or drug dependence, having any eye problems or difficulties in corrected vision, having a North American Adult Reading Test (NAART) equivalent Full Scale Intelligence Quotient < 85.
  2. Pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant during the first 11 months after intake will also be excluded from the study. Pregnancy will be determined by self-report at the interview and by a pregnancy test at the time of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. There will be no cost to the participant for the pregnancy test.
  3. People who have metallic foreign objects in their body, such as aneurysm clips or pacemakers, as well as individuals prone to panicking in enclosed spaces will be excluded from the study. Subjects with a questionable history of metallic fragments will also be excluded.
  4. Participants who are taking psychotropic medications, particularly antidepressant medications within two weeks of study entry (4 weeks for fluoxetine) will be excluded.
  5. Participants will not be excluded on the basis of herbs, supplements, and other prescription or over the counter drugs other than those noted. HIV serostatus will not be evaluated for the research study.
  6. At the initial screening visit, if girth seems to present a potential issue for the MRI, than width of participant will be assessed using a hula-hoop that is approximately the same diameter as the MRI scanner. If subject exceeds the width of the hula-hoop, then they will be excluded from the study.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00787501

United States, Pennsylvania
Mood Disorders Treatment and Research Program - UPMC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15213
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Foundation
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Greg J Siegle, PhD University of Pittsburgh
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Greg Siegle, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Identifier: NCT00787501     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: PRO07100326
R01MH074807 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: November 5, 2008
Last Updated: February 2, 2016

Keywords provided by University of Pittsburgh:
Major Depressive Disorder
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Therapy
antidepressant medications

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Antidepressive Agents
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Psychotropic Drugs
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Serotonin Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
Antiparkinson Agents
Anti-Dyskinesia Agents
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Muscarinic Antagonists
Cholinergic Antagonists
Cholinergic Agents
Serotonin Receptor Agonists processed this record on March 28, 2017