Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

What is Involved?

The majority of our studies involve psychiatric evaluation and treatment with medication although we occasionally have Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and psychotherapy studies as well. Most of our studies include either treatment options that are already in the market (like medications and rTMS) or treatment options which are in the last phases of trial before being submitted to the FDA for approval to be marketed (like some medications and sTMS). The latter studies are usually what is referred to as "double-blind" trials where there is a chance the patient would be given placebo or sham (does not have the active therapeutic elements) for part or all of the study. Neither the patient nor the doctor will know if it is active treatment or placebo/sham. Some of our studies offer an open label option in which the patient have the option of receiving active treatment by the end of the double-blind phase.

During the initial visit, a psychiatrist will conduct a psychiatric evaluation and determine the patient's diagnosis. If the patient meets the study criteria and the doctor thinks that participation could be benefitial for treatment, the appropriate study will be offered and the patient will have a chance to ask any questions and consent to participate. If the patient decides to participate, medication will need to be taken as prescribed and regular visits must be kept with the doctor. The schedule varies per study, but these visits usually range from once a week to once a month. The duration of most studies usually last 8-11 weeks, but some can go on for months or even years.

Medication and treatment with the psychiatrist is given free of charge for most studies.

Once participation has completed in a study, depending on how the patient feels at that time, the doctor will follow up for a few visits. If more treatment is needed, the doctor will prescribe either the same or different medication before referring the patient back to their primary care doctor.


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