Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety

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Open Research Studies



Studies of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Varenicline and CBT in the Treatment of Smoking and PTSD

This 5-year research study is in its first year of funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and is under the direction of principal investigator Edna Foa, PhD. The purpose of the study is to test the efficacy of an integrated treatment for smoking cessation among smokers with PTSD. This group of smokers has a particularly hard time quitting; they tend to be heavy smokers, more nicotine dependent, and to have more severe nicotine withdrawal when they try to stop smoking. Varenicline is a new medication that has shown greater effectiveness for smoking cessation than previously available drugs. Individuals who participate in this study will be randomly assigned to receive either varenicline alone or varenicline plus prolonged exposure for PTSD. Treatment will last for 13 weeks; we will continue to monitor study participants for an additional 3 months after the end of treatment. Individuals who received varenicline alone will have the option to receive prolonged exposure at the end of this follow-up period. This optional treatment will be provided at no cost to the participants. Men and women ages 18-75 with PTSD who want to quit smoking may be eligible to participate in this study.

For further information about this study, please contact the study's research assistant Liza Alpert: 215-746-3327

 

Treating Troops with PTSD

This is a new study funded by the US Department of Defense to determine the most effective means of helping military personnel regain full functioning after having been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The PI of the study is Edna B. Foa, Ph.D.  Prolonged exposure (PE) is an efficacious treatment for PTSD, typically administered in once- or twice-weekly sessions.  This project will evaluate whether massing 10 PE sessions in 2 weeks is as effective as providing 10 PE sessions delivered over 8 weeks. 

For further information about this study, please contact Edna Foa, Ph.D. at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety:  215-746-3327




Studies of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Attaining and Maintaing Wellness in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a collaboration between Dr. Edna Foa from the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Blair Simpson from Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute.The goal of the study is to understand whether patients with OCD on Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs) who receive EX/RP can discontinue their medication if they first do well with EX/RP. Eligible participants remain on a stable dose of their OCD medication in the first part of the study, and will receive cognitive behavioral therapy consisting of Exposure and Ritual Prevention (EX/RP) twice a week for up to 12 weeks as additional treatment.  Participants who become well after the EX/RP will either continue their medication or begin to taper off their medication and have it gradually replaced with a placebo (sugar pill).  All patients will be carefully monitored throughout the second part of the study, which lasts 24 weeks.

No one who has not become well after 12 weeks of EX/RP will discontinue their medication.  Individuals who do not improve will be referred elsewhere to receive appropriate clinical treatment.


This study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a collaboration between Dr. Edna Foa from the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Blair Simpson from Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute.  Men and women ages 18-75 with OCD who are currently taking an SRI medication (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro or Anafranil) and who are not taking other psychotropic medications at the same time may be eligible to participate in this study.  There is no cost for the cognitive-behavioral therapy. 

For more information visit our website www.ocdtreatmentstudy.com

 

For further information about future studies, contact Joseph Carpenter: 215-746-3327

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