Sequenced Treatment Effectiveness for Posttraumatic Stress

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Jan 5, 2024
  • participants needed
    1400
  • sponsor
    University of Washington
Updated on 4 October 2022
norepinephrine
antidepressants
sertraline
exposure therapy
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
psychotherapy
paroxetine
venlafaxine
fluoxetine

Summary

Individuals with PTSD are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, drug use, alcohol misuse, and have high rates of morbidity/mortality. PTSD negatively impacts marriages, educational attainment, and occupational functioning. Some patients with PTSD can be successfully referred to specialty mental health clinics, but most patients with PTSD cannot engage in specialty care because of geographical, financial and cultural barriers and must be treated in primary care. However, policy makers do not know the best way to treat PTSD in primary care clinics, especially for patients who do not respond to the initial treatment choice. There are effective treatments for PTSD that are feasible to deliver in primary care. These treatments include commonly prescribed antidepressants and brief exposure-based therapies. However, because there are no head-to-head comparisons between pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy in primary care settings, primary care providers do not know which treatments to recommend to their patients. In addition, despite high treatment non-response rates, very few studies have examined which treatment should be recommend next when patients do not respond well to the first, and no such studies have been conducted in primary care settings.

This trial will be conducted in Federally Qualified Health Centers and VA Medical Centers, where the prevalence of both past trauma exposure and PTSD are particularly high. The investigators will enroll 1,400 primary care patients. The investigators propose to 1) compare outcomes among patients randomized to initially receive pharmacotherapy or brief psychotherapy, 2) compare outcomes among patients randomized to treatment sequences (i.e., switching and augmenting) for patients not responding to the initial treatment and 3) examine variation in treatment outcomes among different subgroups of patients. Telephone and web surveys will be used to assessed outcomes important to patients, like self-reported symptom burden, side-effects, health related quality of life, and recovery outcomes, at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Results will help patients and primary care providers choose which treatment to try first and which treatment to try second if the first is not effective.

Description

Background: In primary care settings, PTSD frequently goes undetected and untreated. When PTSD is diagnosed in primary care, treatment is usually inadequate and outcomes are poor. This is highly problematic because many patients with PTSD prefer receiving care in primary care settings, and less than half are successfully referred to the specialty mental health setting. This is especially a concern for safety net primary settings such as Federally Qualified Health Centers and VA Medical Centers, where the prevalence of both past trauma exposure and PTSD are particularly high. However, there are effective pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy treatments for PTSD that are feasible to deliver in primary care.

Objective: Because there are no head-to-head comparisons of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy for PTSD among primary care patients, the investigators propose to 1) compare outcomes among patients randomized to initially receive pharmacotherapy or brief psychotherapy, 2) compare outcomes among patients randomized to treatment sequences (i.e., switching and augmenting) for patients not responding to the initial treatment and 3) examine variation in treatment outcomes among different subgroups of patients.

Methods: This multi-site trial will enroll 1,400 patients meeting clinical criteria for PTSD from 6 Federally Qualified Health Centers and 6 VA Medical Centers. The pharmacotherapy treatments are sertraline, fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine. The psychotherapy treatment is Written Exposure Therapy. Telephone and web surveys will be used to assessed outcomes (patient treatment engagement, self-reported symptom burden, health related quality of life, and recovery outcomes) at baseline, 4 and 8 months. Patients will be the unit of the intent-to-treat analysis. Multiple imputation will be used for missing data. Mixed-models will be used to test hypotheses.

Significance: Due to a lack of head-to-head comparisons between pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy protocols, clinical practice guidelines for PTSD provide contradictory recommendations about pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. In particular, PTSD clinical practice guidelines have little to offer primary care providers because so few trials have been conducted in this setting. The proposed large pragmatic trial will compare, head-to-head, FDA approved PTSD medications with a brief trauma-focused psychotherapy that is evidence-based and feasible to deliver in primary care. In addition, despite high treatment non-response rates, very few trials have examined treatment sequencing and none have done so in the primary care setting. For patients not responding to the initial treatment, the proposed research is powered to compare, head-to-head, alternative treatment sequences that are feasible to deliver in primary care.

Details
Condition PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Treatment written exposure therapy, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04597190
SponsorUniversity of Washington
Last Modified on4 October 2022

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Screen positive for PTSD (PC-PTSD>=3 AND PCL>=33)
Screen positive for trauma (Brief Trauma questionnaire)

Exclusion Criteria

Diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or dementia
Current prescription of venlafaxine
Change in any psychotropic prescription in the past 2 months
A scheduled specialty mental health appointment or preference for specialty mental health care
Pregnant
Terminally ill
Prisoner
Unable to communicate in English or Spanish
<18 years of age
Impaired decision making capacity
Clear my responses

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