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Improving Treatment Outcomes in Pharmacotherapy of Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder

Information source: Massachusetts General Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Social Phobia

Intervention: Sertraline (Drug); Venlafaxine (Drug); Placebo (Drug); Clonazepam (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Massachusetts General Hospital

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Mark H. Pollack, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Massachusetts General Hospital
Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of California San Deigo
Michael Van Ameringen, MD, FRCPC, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Anxiety Disorders Clinic McMaster University Medical Centre


This study will compare the effectiveness of either adding clonazepam or placebo to standard treatment or switching to venlafaxine in treating generalized social anxiety disorder in individuals who have not responded to treatment with sertraline.

Clinical Details

Official title: Improving Outcomes in Pharmacotherapy of Social Phobia

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Rates of Remission (LSAS≤30) After 12 Weeks of Randomized Treatment During Phase II, Among Phase I Non-responders

Secondary outcome: Post-treatment Social Phobia Severity as Defined by Endpoint LSAS Scores

Detailed description: Generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, and often causes significant distress and dysfunction in affected individuals. Although currently available treatments for GSAD are effective, most individuals have residual symptoms after initial psychosocial or psychopharmacologic intervention. Further treatment is necessary for such individuals, but sufficient research has not been done to guide clinicians on what the safest and most effective next step may be. This study will compare the effectiveness of either combining clonazepam or placebo with sertraline or completely switching to venlafaxine in treating GSAD in individuals who have not responded to treatment with sertraline. This study will also examine predictors of treatment response, including factors such as age at disease onset, duration of illness, comorbidities, and genes that influence serotonin and catecholamine metabolism. Participants in this double-blind study will first partake in an initial 10-week phase in which they will be treated with sertraline. Participants who do not respond to sertraline treatment will proceed to phase two of the study, in which they will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. One group will receive both sertraline and clonazepam, another group will receive both sertraline and placebo, and the third group will receive only venlafaxine. All treatments will continue for 12 weeks. Sertraline and venlafaxine are both FDA-approved for the treatment of GSAD. Clonazepam is widely used for the treatment of anxiety, but is not FDA-approved for the treatment of GSAD. All participants will attend weekly study visits at Weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Participants who continue into phase two will attend weekly study visits at Weeks 11-14, 16, 18, 20, and 22. Symptom remission rates and post-treatment social phobia severity will be assessed at Week 22.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Primary psychiatric diagnosis of GSAD as defined by DSM-IV criteria and a score above

60 on the LSAS

- Agrees to use an effective form of contraception throughout the study

Exclusion Criteria:

- Clinically significant abnormalities found upon physical examination,

electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests

- History of more than two unsuccessful, adequate treatment trials, indicated by a lack

of response to over 10 weeks of any of the following: SSRIs (e. g., 40 mg of paroxetine or its equivalent per day); benzodiazepine (e. g. at least 2. 5 mg of clonazepam per day) plus antidepressant (adequate dose as above); monoamine oxidase inhibitors (e. g., 60 mg of phenelzine or its equivalent per day); or a single failed trial of over 10 weeks of venlafaxine ( at least 150 mg per day)

- Pregnant or breastfeeding

- Simultaneous use of other psychotropic medications, with the exception of

psychostimulants to treat ADHD; participants must discontinue regular benzodiazepine or antidepressant therapy at least two weeks (5 weeks for fluoxetine) prior to study entry; beta-blockers must be discontinued unless they are indicated medically (e. g., for hypertension)

- DSM-IV diagnosis of any of the following: lifetime history of schizophrenia or any

other psychosis, mental retardation, organic medical disorder, bipolar disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder; eating disorder in the past 6 months; alcohol or substance abuse in the past 3 months or dependence within the past 6 months (entry of participants with major depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder will be permitted if the social anxiety disorder is judged to be the predominant disorder)

- Significant suicidal ideation as indicated by a score greater than 3 on the

Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale or suicidal behaviors within 6 months prior to study entry

- Significant personality dysfunction that could interfere with study participation

- Serious medical illness or instability for which hospitalization may be likely during

the study

- Seizure disorders, with the exception of a childhood history of isolated,

non-recurrent febrile seizures

- Any concurrent psychotherapy initiated within 3 months of study entry, or ongoing

psychotherapy of any duration directed specifically toward treatment of GSAD (prohibited psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapy that focuses on exploring specific, dynamic causes of the phobic symptomatology and that provides management skills; general supportive therapy for more than 3 months is acceptable)

Locations and Contacts

University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, United States

Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, United States

McMaster University Medical Centre Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada

Additional Information

Click here for the Anxiety Disorders Association of America website

Please click here for UCSD Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Program

Starting date: March 2006
Last updated: August 8, 2013

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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