Practical clinical trials in psychopharmacology: a systematic review.
ABSTRACT: Practical clinical trials (PCTs) are randomized experiments under typical practice conditions with the aim of testing the "real-life" benefits and risks of therapeutic interventions. Influential PCTs have been conducted in cardiology, oncology, and internal medicine. Psychotropic medications are widely and increasingly used in medical practice. This review examines recent progress in conducting PCTs in psychopharmacology. The January 2000 to October 2014 MEDLINE, Scopus, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases were searched for peer-reviewed publications of PCTs with at least 100 subjects per treatment arm. Most PCTs in psychiatry evaluated mental health services or psychosocial interventions rather than specific pharmacotherapies. Of 157 PCTs in psychiatry, 30 (19%) were in psychopharmacology, with a median of 2 publications per year and no increase during the period of observation. Sample size ranged from 200 to 18,154; only 11 studies randomized 500 patients or more. Psychopharmacology PCTs were equally likely to be funded by industry as by public agencies. There were 10 PCTs of antidepressants, for a total of 4206 patients (in comparison with at least 46 PCTs of antihypertensive medications, for a total of 208,014 patients). Some psychopharmacology PCTs used suicidal behavior, treatment discontinuation, or mortality as primary outcome and produced effectiveness and safety data that have influenced both practice guidelines and regulatory decisions. Practical clinical trials can constitute an important source of information for clinicians, patients, regulators, and policy makers but have been relatively underused in psychopharmacology. Electronic medical records and integrated practice research networks offer promising platforms for a more efficient conduct of PCTs.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:A clinically relevant approach to patient care grounded in neurobiological constructs and evidence based practice which emphasizes a relevant psychopharmacology is needed to optimally train psychiatry residents. METHODS:We implemented a biological psychiatry course that now incorporates neurobiology, psychopharmacology, and evidence-based practice in conjunction with a Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) perspective. A survey launched prior to course implementation and following each class session, served as the outcome metric of residents' attitudes toward the new curriculum and followed a baseline attitudinal survey designed to evaluate the program. RESULTS:Greater than 90% of the psychiatry residents at Duke University who took the attitudinal survey agreed or strongly agreed with needing a course that helped them develop an understanding of neurobiology, psychopharmacology, and evidence-based practice concepts. Most residents also indicated a less than adequate understanding of the neurobiology and psychopharmacology of psychiatric disorders prior to sessions. CONCLUSION:Our biological psychiatry curriculum was associated with enthusiasm among residents regarding the incorporation of neurobiology, psychopharmacology, and evidence-based practice into course topics and discussions. A biological psychiatry curriculum with integrated neurobiology and psychopharmacology built on an evidence base approach is possible, well-received, and needed in training of future psychiatrists.
Project description:General practitioners (GPs) are increasing involved in the care of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and prescribe and/or manage psychotropic medications for these children. Few published reports of perceptions of GPs regarding use of these medications exist in the literature.Qualitative analysis of comments by 177 GPs regarding psychopharmacology use in children with ASDs.A postal questionnaire survey containing both close- and open-ended questions was conducted in New South Wales, Australia.Respondent GPs were more likely to be females graduated from Australian medical schools and reported an interest either in child or in mental health. The respondents demonstrated good understanding of the issues surrounding psychopharmacology use in children with ASD based on contemporary literature on this topic. The main themes included concerns regarding medication safety, evidence for their use, and role of these medications as an adjuvant to behavior management. GPs reported a lack of experience of these medications, and would often prescribe only under the supervision of specialists. GPs with greater confidence and involvement with children of ASDs prescribed more medications; whereas GP reporting more concerns with regard to medications prescribed less.Respondent GPs have good understanding of psychotropic medications but need support from specialists for managing these medications in children with ASDs. Future larger studies should explore the utility of collaborative models of care for GPs to work in close partnerships with specialists.
Project description:The British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines specify the scope and targets of treatment for bipolar disorder. The third version is based explicitly on the available evidence and presented, like previous Clinical Practice Guidelines, as recommendations to aid clinical decision making for practitioners: it may also serve as a source of information for patients and carers, and assist audit. The recommendations are presented together with a more detailed review of the corresponding evidence. A consensus meeting, involving experts in bipolar disorder and its treatment, reviewed key areas and considered the strength of evidence and clinical implications. The guidelines were drawn up after extensive feedback from these participants. The best evidence from randomized controlled trials and, where available, observational studies employing quasi-experimental designs was used to evaluate treatment options. The strength of recommendations has been described using the GRADE approach. The guidelines cover the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, clinical management, and strategies for the use of medicines in short-term treatment of episodes, relapse prevention and stopping treatment. The use of medication is integrated with a coherent approach to psychoeducation and behaviour change.
Project description:The evolution of trial design and analysis during the lifespan of psychopharmacology is examined.The clinical trial methodology used to evaluate psychopharmacologic agents has evolved considerably over the past 6 decades. The first and most productive decade was characterized by case series, each with a small number of patients. These trials used nonstandardized clinical observation as outcomes and seldom had a comparison group. The crossover design became widely used to examine acute psychiatric treatments in the 1950s and 1960s. Although this strategy provided comparison data, it introduced problems in study implementation and interpretation. In 1962, the US Food and Drug Administration began to require "substantial evidence of effectiveness from adequate and well-controlled studies." Subsequent decades saw remarkable advances in clinical trial design, assessment, and statistical analyses. Standardized instruments were developed and parallel groups, double-blinding, and placebo controls became the benchmark. Sample sizes increased and data analytic procedures were developed that could accommodate the problems of attrition. Randomized withdrawal designs were introduced in the 1970s to examine maintenance therapies. Ethical principles for research became codified in the United States at that time. A wave of regulatory approvals of novel antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants came in the 1980s and 1990s, each based on data from randomized double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled clinical trials. These trial designs often involved fixed-dose comparisons based, in part, on a greater appreciation that much of the benefit and harm in psychopharmacology was dose related.Despite the progress in randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, the discovery of new mechanisms of action and blockbuster interventions has slowed during the past decade.
Project description:There have been many changes in clinical trials methodology since the introduction of lithium and the beginning of the modern era of psychopharmacology in 1949. The nature and importance of these changes have not been fully addressed to date. As methodological flaws in trials can lead to false-negative or false-positive results, the objective of our study was to evaluate the impact of methodological changes in psychopharmacology clinical research over the past 60 years.We performed a systematic review from 1949 to 2009 on MEDLINE and Web of Science electronic databases, and a hand search of high impact journals on studies of seven major drugs (chlorpromazine, clozapine, risperidone, lithium, fluoxetine and lamotrigine). All controlled studies published 100 months after the first trial were included. Ninety-one studies met our inclusion criteria. We analyzed the major changes in abstract reporting, study design, participants' assessment and enrollment, methodology and statistical analysis. Our results showed that the methodology of psychiatric clinical trials changed substantially, with quality gains in abstract reporting, results reporting, and statistical methodology. Recent trials use more informed consent, periods of washout, intention-to-treat approach and parametric tests. Placebo use remains high and unchanged over time.Clinical trial quality of psychopharmacological studies has changed significantly in most of the aspects we analyzed. There was significant improvement in quality reporting and internal validity. These changes have increased study efficiency; however, there is room for improvement in some aspects such as rating scales, diagnostic criteria and better trial reporting. Therefore, despite the advancements observed, there are still several areas that can be improved in psychopharmacology clinical trials.
Project description:Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that affects 2%-4% of U.S. adults during their lifetime. The course of bipolar disorder is commonly characterized by prolonged periods of depression interspersed with manic-hypomanic episodes. Management of depression among patients with bipolar disorder is challenging because of the limited number of medications currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the high proportion of patients who do not respond to these medications, and the metabolic and other side effects associated with long-term use of these medications. In addition to reviewing the clinical options available to patients with bipolar depression and their treatment providers, this article presents an evidence-based management approach and discusses the off-label uses of currently available treatments and experimental therapeutics under development.
Project description:Melatonin (MLT) is a pleiotropic neurohormone controlling many physiological processes and whose dysfunction may contribute to several different diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, circadian and mood disorders, insomnia, type 2 diabetes and pain. Melatonin is synthesized by the pineal gland during the night and acts through 2 G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), MT1 (MEL1a) and MT2 (MEL1b). Although a bulk of research has examined the physiopathological effects of MLT, few studies have investigated the selective role played by MT1 and MT2 receptors. Here we have reviewed current knowledge about the implications of MT2 receptors in brain functions.We searched PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar and articles' reference lists for studies on MT2 receptor ligands in sleep, anxiety, neuropsychiatric diseases and psychopharmacology, including genetic studies on the MTNR1B gene, which encodes the melatonin MT2 receptor.These studies demonstrate that MT2 receptors are involved in the pathophysiology and pharmacology of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer disease and pain and that selective MT2 receptor agonists show hypnotic and anxiolytic properties.Studies examining the role of MT2 receptors in psychopharmacology are still limited.The development of novel selective MT2 receptor ligands, together with further preclinical in vivo studies, may clarify the role of this receptor in brain function and psychopharmacology. The superfamily of GPCRs has proven to be among the most successful drug targets and, consequently, MT2 receptors have great potential for pioneer drug discovery in the treatment of mental diseases for which limited therapeutic targets are currently available.
Project description:Objective:A bibliometric study was undertaken of peer-reviewed publications on atypical antipsychotic drugs (AADs) from the United Kingdom and the findings are presented herein. Methods:We selected the documents from the Scopus database. We applied several production and dispersion bibliometric indicators, including Price's law on the growth of the scientific literature, and Bradford's law. We also calculated a so-called 'participation index' across different countries. The bibliometric data were thereafter correlated with social and health data from the UK, including total per capita expenditure on health and gross domestic expenditure. Results:A total of 4156 original manuscripts were published within the timeframe 1967-2015. Our results are in accord with Price's law, with scientific output demonstrating exponential growth (r = 0.9227, as against an r = 0.8766 after adjustment). The drugs most widely evaluated were clozapine (465 documents), olanzapine (263) and risperidone (248). Stratification into Bradford zones produced a nucleus represented by the Journal of Psychopharmacology (168 articles) and British Journal of Psychiatry (159 articles). A total of 1250 different journals were evaluated. Conclusions:Publications on AADs in the UK have shown exponential growth across the studied period, which is in line with the progressively burgeoning novel AAD releases. No evidence of a saturation point was observed.
Project description:Results:Embedded pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) are set in routine health care, have broad eligibility criteria, and use routinely collected electronic data. Many consider them a breakthrough innovation in clinical research and a necessary step in clinical trial development. To identify barriers and success factors, we reviewed published embedded PCTs and interviewed 30 researchers and clinical leaders in 7 US delivery systems. Literature:We searched PubMed, the Cochrane library, and clinicaltrials.gov for studies reporting embedded PCTs. We identified 108 embedded PCTs published in the last 10 years. The included studies had a median of 5540 randomized patients, addressed a variety of diseases, and practice settings covering a broad range of interventions. Eighty-one used cluster randomization. The median cost per patient was $97 in the 64 trials for which it was possible to obtain cost data. Interviews:Delivery systems required research studies to align with operational priorities, existing information technology capabilities, and standard quality improvement procedures. Barriers that were identified included research governance, requirements for processes that were incompatible with clinical operations, and unrecoverable costs. Conclusions:Embedding PCTs in delivery systems can provide generalizable knowledge that is directly applicable to practice settings at much lower cost than conventional trials. Successful embedding trials require accommodating delivery systems' needs and priorities.
Project description:Pharmacogenetic/pharmacogenomic (PGx) approaches to psychopharmacology aim to identify clinically meaningful predictors of drug efficacy and/or side-effect burden. To date, however, PGx studies in psychiatry have not yielded compelling results, and clinical utilization of PGx testing in psychiatry is extremely limited. In this review, the authors provide a brief overview on the status of PGx studies in psychiatry, review the commercialization process for PGx tests and then discuss methodological considerations that may enhance the potential for clinically applicable PGx tests in psychiatry. The authors focus on design considerations that include increased ascertainment of subjects in the earliest phases of illness, discuss the advantages of drug-induced adverse events as phenotypes for examination and emphasize the importance of maximizing adherence to treatment in pharmacogenetic studies. Finally, the authors discuss unique aspects of pharmacogenetic studies that may distinguish them from studies of other complex traits. Taken together, these data provide insights into the design and methodological considerations that may enhance the potential for clinical utility of PGx studies.