Partners in Caring for Anxious Youth

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Apr 1, 2024
  • participants needed
    468
  • sponsor
    Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Updated on 10 September 2021

Summary

Pediatric onset anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety) are highly prevalent, and if untreated, are impairing into adolescence and adulthood. In the largest comparative efficacy study remission occurred in about 65% of children and adolescents treated with a combination of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In contrast, CBT without an SSRI achieved remission in 35% of children at 3 months and 45% at 6 months-a 30% and 20% difference, respectively. Despite the difference in remission rates, CBT alone is the preferred treatment of most patients and families. Lack of awareness of the significant difference in remission rates and concerns about medication side effects may drive patient and family preference even though SSRIs have a positive safety profile.

Critiques of CBT in the above study suggest that CBT was not as effective as it could be due to short treatment duration, restricted family involvement and limited exposure sessions. Would the combination of CBT and an SSRI still be superior to CBT only, if CBT was of longer duration, and included more family involvement and exposure sessions?

In the Partners in Care for Anxious Youth (PCAY) study, children and adolescents with an anxiety disorder ages 7-17 years followed in pediatric primary care clinics affiliated with three institution: Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, University of California Los Angeles and University of Cincinnati will be randomized to one of two treatment arms; either CBT only or CBT combined with an SSRI (either fluoxetine, sertraline, or escitalopram). CBT in PCAY will be 6 months in duration and include more family involvement, and more exposure opportunities than past trials. The 6-month acute treatment phase will be followed by 6 months of followup. The primary outcome will be anxiety symptom remission and reduction in impairment over 6 and 12-months.

Description

Anxiety disorders begin during childhood and adolescents, are extremely common, but are often under-diagnosed and under-treated. If untreated, pediatric anxiety disorders can be chronic and impairing into adulthood. The good news is that evidence-based treatments can be highly effective in reducing symptoms, and for a good number of children and adolescents, treatment can reduce anxiety symptoms to a minimum with marked improvement in function. In the largest comparative efficacy study, remission (minimal or no symptoms of anxiety), occurred in about 65% of children and adolescents treated with a combination of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In contrast, CBT without an SSRI achieved remission in 35% of children at 3 months and 45% at 6 months-a 30% and 20% difference, respectively.

Nonetheless, CBT alone is the preferred treatment of most patients and families. Lack of awareness of the significant difference in remission rates and concerns about medication side effects may drive patient and family preference, even though SSRIs have a positive safety profile.

In the study described above, CBT was limited in ways that might account for why it was less effective. CBT was shorter in duration, had fewer sessions, and less exposure opportunities than it was originally designed to have and had less family involvement than more current approaches. Given that patients and families prefer CBT, it is important to know if combination of CBT and an SSRI is truly superior to CBT only or whether fully implemented CBT can close the gap in remission rates with the combination of CBT and an SSRI. The study will also provide information about which children and adolescents achieve remission with CBT or CBT and an SSRI.

The Partners in Caring for Anxious Youth (PCAY) study will screen children and adolescents ages 7-17 years in pediatric primary care clinics affiliated with three institution: Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, University of California Los Angeles and University of Cincinnati. If a child screens positive with symptoms of an anxiety disorder, the patient and family will be offered an opportunity to learn about PCAY. If the family is interested in PCAY, a study staff person will provide information and answer any questions. If the patient and family want to enroll they will sign a consent form, complete an evaluation, and if eligible and willing to move forward, be randomized to either CBT or CBT plus an SSRI. The study team will work with the patient and family to connect to a therapist in the community to start CBT and if medication is part of treatment, work with the patient's pediatrician to begin medication. CBT will include up to 20 session of therapy and medication treatment will be a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (either fluoxetine, sertraline or escitalopram). The goal of treatment is for the child or adolescent with an anxiety disorder to reach remission and have a marked improvement in functioning. The first part of treatment lasts 6 months and there is then ongoing follow-up for an additional 6 months (12 months total). When the study is finished, the investigators hope to know if CBT and an SSRI is really superior to fully implemented CBT or not. The results of this study will inform patients, families, providers, payors and policy makers on the value of medication when combined with CBT.

Details
Condition Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Anxiety Generalized, separation anxiety, Separation anxiety disorder of childhood
Treatment Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Combination therapy (COMB)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04598230
SponsorAnn & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Last Modified on10 September 2021

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Ages 7-17 years (inclusive at time of consent/assent)
Primary Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5) diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder (SAD), and/or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and/or social anxiety disorder (SocAD) as determined by self-reported structured interview (MINI-KID) and confirmation by a study clinician
Stable/treated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), combined or hyperactive impulsive subtypes
An available primary caretaker with ongoing patient contact who is legally able to provide consent
Medically cleared by a pediatric clinician including a negative urine pregnancy test for females of child-bearing age. Furthermore, female patients must agree to abstain from sexual activity or to use a reliable method of birth control as determined by pediatric clinician during the study

Exclusion Criteria

Patients with the following lifetime psychiatric disorders: moderate to severe autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder, history of intellectual disability
Primary Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), combined or hyperactive impulsive subtypes
Major depressive disorder with greater severity than anxiety disorder requiring treatment not provided in PCAY
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) only (no co-occurring SAD, SocAD or GAD)
Patients with a major medical illness that would interfere with participation in the study (e.g., complex, and evolving medical treatments, or require frequent hospitalizations)
Patients who are pregnant as indicated by a positive pregnancy test or are sexually active and not using effective birth control
Patients who pose a significant and imminent risk to self or to others
Patients who experienced minimal or no change an adequate dose of evidenced-based medication treatment or CBT for their anxiety disorder
(See medication and CBT exclusions below)
\. Patients or caregiver(s) who do not speak English or Spanish. All
materials and treatments will be available in Spanish and English
\. Children and adolescents with complex psychiatric needs that cannot be
managed in primary care and community settings as determined by study local
Principal Investigator (PI) and provider teams
Medication Exclusions
Fluoxetine
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children <12 year
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in adolescents >12 years
Sertraline
for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children <12 years
for at least 6 of 10 weeks in adolescents >12 years
Citalopram
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children >12 years
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks adolescent > 12 years
Escitalopram
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children <12 years
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in adolescent >12 years
Fluvoxamine
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children <12 years
mg for at least 6 of 10 weeks in children < 12 year
CBT Exclusions
Failed a previous trial of verified CBT for anxiety disorders within the
previous year judged adequate by 12 exposure-based CBT sessions
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