Suicide prevention in patients with psychiatric disorders

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Clinical Research Projects

Strategic Use of New generation antidepressants for Depression: SUN☺︎D study (PI: Prof. Toshiaki Furukawa @ Kyoto university)

Kato T, et al.
Optimising first- and second-line treatment strategies for untreated major depressive disorder - the SUN☺D study: a pragmatic, multi-centre, assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial.
BMC Medicine, 16, 103, 2018.

After more than half a century of modern psychopharmacology, with billions of dollars spent on antidepressants annually world-wide, we lack good evidence to guide our everyday decisions in conducting antidepressant treatment of patients with major depression. First we did not know which antidepressant to use as first line treatment. Second we do not know which dosage we should be aiming at with that antidepressant. Because more than half of the patients with major depression starting treatment do not remit after adequate trial with the first agent, they will need a second line treatment. Dose escalation, augmentation and switching are the three often recommended second line strategies but we do not know which is better than the others. Moreover, we did not know when to start considering this second line treatment. The recently published multiple-treatments meta-analysis of 12 new generation antidepressants has provided some partial answers to the first question. Starting with these findings, this trial aimed to establish the optimum 1st line and 2nd line antidepressant treatment strategy among adult patients with a non-psychotic unipolar major depressive episode. As a result, in patients with new onset depression, we found no advantage of titrating sertraline to 100 mg vs 50 mg. Patients unremitted by week 3 gained a small benefit in reduction of depressive symptoms at week 9 by switching sertraline to mirtazapine or by adding mirtazapine. NCT01109693


DEPRESSD Project (PI: Prof. Brett D. Thombs @ McGill university)

Levis B, et al. for the Depression Screening Data (DEPRESSD) PHQ Collaboration
Accuracy of the PHQ-2 Alone and in Combination With the PHQ-9 for Screening to Detect Major Depression Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
JAMA, 323(22):2290-2300, 2020.

Question: What is the accuracy of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)–2 alone and in combination with the PHQ-9 for screening for depression?
Findings: In an individual participant data meta-analysis that included 10 627 participants from 44 studies with semistructured diagnostic interviews, the combination of PHQ-2 (with cutoff ≥2) followed by PHQ-9 (with cutoff ≥10) had a sensitivity of 0.82, specificity of 0.87, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.90.
Meaning: PHQ-2 followed by PHQ-9 may provide acceptable accuracy for screening for depression.


Smartphone cognitive behavioral therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for refractory depression: FLATT study (PI: Prof. Toshiaki Furukawa @ Kyoto university)

Mantani A, et al.
Smartphone cognitive behavioral therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for refractory depression: randomized controlled trial.
J Med Internet Res, 19, e373, 2017.

In the treatment of major depression, antidepressants are effective but not curative. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also effective, alone or in combination with pharmacotherapy, but accessibility is a problem. The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone CBT app as adjunctive therapy among patients with antidepressant-resistant major depression. A multisite, assessor-masked, parallel-group randomized controlled trial was conducted in 20 psychiatric clinics and hospitals in Japan. Participants were eligible if they had a primary diagnosis of major depression and were antidepressant-refractory after taking one or more antidepressants at an adequate dosage for four or more weeks. After a 1-week run-in in which participants started the medication switch and had access to the welcome session of the app, patients were randomized to medication switch alone or to medication switch plus smartphone CBT app via the centralized Web system. The smartphone app, called Kokoro-app ("kokoro" means "mind" in Japanese), included sessions on self-monitoring, behavioral activation, and cognitive restructuring presented by cartoon characters.
UMIN-CTR: 000013693