Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Current Study Listings

We currently have many research studies offering treatments for individuals who have symptoms of depression.

Medication-Based Studies

Several of our medication-based studies are exploring the use of a new medication in combination with an already prescribed antidepressant medication. These studies are for individuals who have not received enough benefit from the antidepressant medications that they are currently taking.

402 Study: Trial of Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of ITI-007 Adjunctive to Lithium or Valproate in the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Episodes Associated with Bipolar I or Bipolar II Disorder (Bipolar Depression)

We are looking for people who are currently experiencing major depressive episodes associated with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder to take part in our bipolar depression studies. These clinical research studies are designed to help us learn more about an investigational medication for symptoms of bipolar depression.

  • The 402 study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research study which is looking at whether an investigational medication, called ITI-007, can improve the symptoms of bipolar depression (bipolar I or bipolar II disorder). It also aims to look at how safe the investigational medication is and whether it impacts the quality of life and well-being of people with bipolar depression, when it is added to existing treatment with a mood stabilizer, specifically lithium or valproate.

You may be able to take part in the 401 or 402 Study if you:

  • are between 18 and 65 years of age (inclusive)
  • have been diagnosed with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder
  • are currently having a major depressive episode that started at least 2 weeks ago, but no more than
    6 months ago
  • have previously had at least one bipolar manic episode or mixed episode (if you have bipolar I disorder) or hypomanic episode (if you have bipolar II disorder).

Study participation will last up to 12 weeks and will require nine visits to the study center.

Participate

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Comparing Effectiveness of Aripiprazole Augmentation, rTMS Augmentation, and Switching to Venlafaxine XR in Treatment Resistant Depression (ASCERTAIN-TRD)

We are looking for people who are currently experiencing major depressive episode to take part in this depression study. This clinical research study is designed to help us learn more about the efficacy of three treatment options for depression.

  • The ASCERTAIN-TRD study is a multi-site, randomized, open-label study to compare the efficacy of  a) aripiprazole added to the current antidepressant, b) rTMS added to the current antidepressant, and c) switching to venlafaxine XR.

You may be able to take part in this study if you:

  • are between 18 and 80 years of age (inclusive)
  • have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder
  • are currently experiencing depressive symptoms
  • are currently on an antidepressant medication but haven’t experienced at least 50 % improvement in your symptoms
  • have tried at least 1 other antidepressant medication but did not experience at least 50 % improvement in your symptoms

The study doctor will discuss additional requirements for being in the study with you.

Study participation will last up to 12 weeks and will require visits to the study center.

Participate

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A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Brexpiprazole as Adjunctive Therapy in the Maintenance Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

We are looking for people who are currently experiencing major depressive episode to take part in this depression study. This multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of brexpiprazole as an adjunctive therapy (added to another antidepressant) in maintenance treatment of subjects with major depressive disorder.

  • Patients who decide to participate in this study will first receive 6 to 8 weeks treatment with an antidepressant plus brexpirazole. Eligible participants then move to a 12 week treatment period on the same dose of the medications. Following the mentioned stable phase, eligible participants will move to a double blind phase for about 26 weeks receiving either brexpirazole and an antidepressant or placebo and an antidepressant.

You may be able to take part in this study if you:

  • are 18 to 65 years old
  • have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder
  • are currently experiencing depressive symptoms
  • are currently taking an antidepressant medication
  • have tried at least one antidepressant treatment without experiencing at least 50 % improvement in your symptoms

The study doctor will discuss additional requirements for being in the study with you.

The study treatment and all tests and visits required by the study are provided at no cost to you.

Participate

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A Randomized, Double-blind, Active-controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of AXS-05 Administered Orally to Subjects with Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder

We are currently enrolling participants for a clinical research study to look at the effectiveness and safety of an investigational medication AXS-05 (a combination of bupropion and dextromethorphan) compared to bupropion (Approved by FDA), in patients with depression who have not responded to prior treatment with at least one antidepressant.

Study participation will last up to 14 weeks which will include 2 weeks screening period, 6 weeks open label period (all the patients will receive bupropion), and 6 weeks double blind period (randomized either to bupropion or study medication).

You may be able to take part in this study if you are:

  • Between 18 and 65 years of age 
  • Diagnosed with depression
  • Experiencing depression symptoms despite having taken one or two antidepressant medications in the past
  • Able to provide written consent to participate in the study

The study doctor will discuss additional requirements for being in the study with you. If you are eligible for this study and choose to participate, you will receive all study visits and study-related medical care at no cost to you. Compensation for your time and travel may also be provided.

Participate

 

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Non-Medication Studies

Telemedicine vs in-person delivery of cognitive behavioral treatment of insomnia: a mixed methods analysis

We are looking for people who are currently experiencing insomnia to take part in this study. This clinical research study is designed to help us learn more about delivering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) by telemedicine, also known as video chat. Some participants receive in-person CBT-I while others receive CBT-I online.

If you are:

  • 21-50 years old
  • Have been experiencing insomnia for at least 3 months
  • Are otherwise healthy

Then you may be eligible to participate in this research study!

Eligible participants will receive 6-8 weeks of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia, provide up to 3 blood samples, answer several short questionnaires, fill out a daily sleep diary, and complete follow-up assessments. Total duration of participation varies between 5-7 months.

Participate

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Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Antidepressant Effects of Sleep Deprivation

The purpose of this study is to better understand how one night of sleep deprivation affects mood in people with depression using brain imaging by comparing individuals with current depression and healthy controls with no history of depression.

If you are:

  • Between the ages of 21 and 50
  • Currently experiencing depression
  • Willing to spend 5 days at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

You may be eligible for one of our current research studies.

Eligible participants will be asked to complete a number of questionnaires and computerized tests, provide blood and saliva samples, and undergo 3 MRIs.

Participate

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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Imago Relationship Therapy

In this study we are looking for couples in committed romantic relationships who are currently dissatisfied and distressed with their relationship. The study is designed to help us learn more about the efficacy of Imago Relationship Therapy, a form of couple therapy that has been practiced and broadly disseminated for over 40 years.  Importantly, each of the three conditions to which couples are randomly assigned involves some form of active intervention: 12-16 sessions of Imago therapy, 12- 16 sessions of Imago therapy following a psychoeducational workshop designed to teach and support the practice of communication skills, or a waiting period followed by the psychoeducational workshop. Thus all couples will receive some form of active intervention.
 

Eligible couples are:

  • Residing in the New York City area or in Atlanta, Georgia, as the study is enrolling only in these geographic locations
  • Male/female or same-sexed couples; both members at least 18 years of age
  • Married or living together in a committed relationship for a minimum of one year
  • Experiencing significant relationship distress and with interest in improving relationship satisfaction; no immediate plans to terminate relationship
  • Not in on-going relationship-focused therapy
     

If your relationship meets these criteria and several others, you may be eligible to participate in this research study.  All participants must be screened for study eligibility and each member of a couple must consent to participate. Participants will be assessed by interview and by self-report questionnaires 4 times over the course of the study.  Total duration of the participation in the study varies from 6 to 8 months, including follow-up period. 

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How to Participate in These Studies

In order for you to participate, you must first complete a pre-screen set of questionnaires to determine if you might benefit from one of these studies. Please send us an email at Bluemood@Pennmedicine.upenn.edu with your name, last name, and phone number. Once we receive your email, we will send you a link to complete an online form. If you do not have an email or prefer phone, you may call us at 215-898-4301 to complete a pre-screen telephone interview. Once this is completed, a study coordinator will either schedule you with one of our doctors or refer you to a more suitable treatment center.

If you do not qualify for one of our research studies now, we will keep your information so that we may contact you in the future about new studies.

We also collaborate on the following studies:

  • The Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program treats and studies sleep disorders, primarily insomnia.  We provide not only the highest standard of care for Insomnia (both with cognitive behavioral treatment of insomnia, CBT-I, and/or Pharmacotherapy) but also provide for a full spectrum of non-drug interventions for most of the non-medical sleep disorders.  For more information visit: http://www.med.upenn.edu/bsm.html or call 215-7-insomn (215-746-7666)
     
  • Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapy: We also collaborate with psychologists who are exploring the use of mindfulness in the treatment of acute health problems, depression and anxiety.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 215-898-4301.


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