Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Current Study Listings

We currently have many research studies offering treatments for individuals who have symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and relationship and couples therapy.

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.

For Major Depression:

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 a major depressive episode to take part in this depression clinical research study. It is designed to help us learn more about the efficacy of three treatment options for depression.  All these treatments are FDA approved and widely used by the clinicians.

The ASCERTAIN-TRD study is a multi-site, randomized, open-label study to compare the efficacy of:

  • Aripiprazole added to your current antidepressant
  • rTMS added to your current antidepressant
  • Switching to venlafaxine XR or duloxetine

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

  • Are between 18 and 80 years of age (inclusive)
  • Are currently experiencing depressive symptoms
  • Are currently on an antidepressant medication but have not experienced at least 50% improvement in your symptoms
  • Have tried at least one other antidepressant medication and/or therapy

The study clinician will discuss additional study requirements with you if necessary.

Participation in the study will last up to 12 weeks and will require multiple visits to the study center. Compensation for your time and travel may also be provided.

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A Phase 3 Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Brexpiprazole as Adjunctive Therapy in the Maintenance Treatment of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder

We are looking for people who are currently experiencing a major depressive episode to take part in this study.

This is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of FDA approved brexpiprazole as an adjunctive therapy (therapy in addition to another antidepressant) in maintenance treatment of subjects with major depressive disorder.

Participants in the study will first receive six to eight weeks of treatment with a SSRI/SNRI antidepressant currently on plus brexpiprazole.  If eligible, participants will move to a 12 week treatment period on the same dose of the medications.  Following this phase, eligible participants will move to a double blind phase for about 26 weeks, receiving either brexpiprazole and an antidepressant or placebo and an antidepressant.

You may be able to participate in this study if you:

  • Are between 18 and 65 years of age
  • Are currently experiencing depressive symptoms
  • Are currently taking an SSRI/SNRI antidepressant medication as per protocol
  • Have tried at least one additional antidepressant treatment without experiencing a 50% improvement in your symptoms

The clinician will discuss additional study requirements with you if necessary. The study treatment and all tests and visits required are provided at no cost to you.  Compensation for your time and travel may also be provided.

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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

This clinical study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of an investigational medication AXS-05 (a combination of bupropion and dextromethorphan) compared to bupropion (FDA approved), in patients with depression who have not responded to prior treatment with at least one antidepressant.

Study participation will last up to 15 weeks which will include 2 weeks screening period, 6 weeks open label period (all the patients will receive bupropion), 6 weeks double blind period (randomized either to bupropion or study medication) and one week follow-up.

Patient who complete this study successfully might have chance to enroll in 52 weeks long open label study where all the participants will receive the study medication.

  • You may be eligible to participate if you are:
  • Between 18 and 65 years of age (Inclusive)
  • Experiencing symptoms of depression despite having taken one or two antidepressant medications in the past
  • BMI between 18 and 40 kg/m2 inclusive

The clinician will discuss additional requirements with you for being in the study.  If you are eligible 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.

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A Phase 3, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Adjunctive Pimavanserin in Subjects With Major Depressive Disorder and Inadequate Response to Antidepressant Treatment

We are looking for individuals experiencing treatment-resistant symptoms of depression.  This clinical research study is designed to help us understand the efficacy of Pimavanserin as an adjunctive therapy (in addition to another antidepressant) to your current SSRI/SNRI antidepressant.

Participants will be randomly assigned either to receive the medication under investigation or a placebo to add to their current antidepressant medication for six weeks.

Study participation will last for about 9 weeks (3 weeks screening; 6 weeks treatment) followed by a 30 days follow up period.

You may be eligible to participate if currently you:

  • Are above 18 years of age
  • Have been treated with one of the SSRI/SNRI antidepressant as per protocol for at least 8 weeks with no relief
  • Have a bMI between 18.5 – 35 kg/m2

The clinician will discuss additional study requirements with you if necessary. All medications and treatment will be provided at no cost to you.  Compensation for your time and travel may also be provided.

On completion of the 6 weeks treatment period, individuals may be eligible to participate in a 52-week open-label extension study.

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For Generalized Anxiety:

A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Trial of Troriluzole in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

We are looking for people who have been experiencing excessive anxiety for last one year or more. This clinical research study is designed to evaluate the efficacy of Troriluzole on moderate to severe generalized anxiety.

Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to receive either 100-mg Troriluzole twice a day or placebo twice a day for 8 weeks.  After completing the 8 weeks, you will be going into 48 weeks open label period where you will be receiving the 100 mg of study medication.  There will be follow-up clinic visits 2 weeks after the study medication is discontinued.

You may be eligible to participate if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18-65 (inclusive)
  • Have had a primary diagnosis of moderate to severe anxiety for over a year
  • Are not currently on any anxiety medication
  • BMI <40 kg/m2
  • Have not experienced any depressive symptoms for last 6 months

The clinician will discuss additional study requirements with you if necessary. All medications and treatment will be provided at no cost to you.  Compensation for your time and travel may also be provided.

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Non-Medication Studies

For Insomnia:

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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For Depression:

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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For Relationship and Couples Therapy:

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Imago Relationship Therapy

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 couples’ 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.

Couples may be eligible to participate if you:

  • Are residing in the New York City area or in Atlanta, Georgia, as the study is enrolling in these geographic locations
  • Heterosexual or LGBTQ couples, must be 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 the relationship
  • Not in on-going relationship-focused therapy

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 participation in the study varies from 6-8 months, including the follow-up period.

Please contact by email at Couples-Study@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or give us a call at 215-746-6664, if interested.

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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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