May 14, 2018

Clinical Trial: Anxiety and Depression in Epilepsy – A Pilot Treatment Study

Brief Summary: As a potential solution to address high rates of depression and anxiety seen in epilepsy patients and poor mental health care access, this trial aims to carry out treatment for depression and anxiety directly in our epilepsy clinic. Patients that meet eligibility criteria, including significant symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, will be enrolled in the intervention. The intervention will consist of an initial prescription for an FDA-approved medication to treat depression/anxiety and telephone-based chronic care management plan for repeated symptom measurement and side effect surveillance. The purpose of this pre-piloting limited study is to streamline recruitment, intervention and outcome assessment process in preparation for a randomized, controlled pilot of the intervention.

Estimated study start date: May 2018
Estimated study completion date: January 2019

Eligibility Criteria

Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years and Older (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Provision of signed and dated informed consent form
  • Stated willingness to comply with all study procedures and availability for the duration of the study
  • Age 18 or older
  • Ability to take oral medication and the willing to adhere to the intervention regimen
  • Minimum of 1 prior clinic visit at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
  • Adequate cognition (MoCA score of 20 or greater)
  • Diagnosis of epilepsy: EEG with documented seizure or epileptiform discharges OR non-epileptiform EEG and seizure remission with antiseizure drug OR treating epileptologist’s leading clinical impression is epilepsy
  • NDDI-E score greater than 15 and/or GAD-7 score greater than or equal to 10


Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnancy or lactation
  • Known allergic reactions to escitalopram or venlafaxine
  • Comorbid psychogenic nonepileptic seizures
  • Prior psychiatric hospitalization
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • History of manic or psychotic symptoms (past manic episode (SCID-I), or psychotic symptom screen positive)
  • Current treatment by a psychiatrist or counselor/theraptist
  • Active suicidality at the time of screening
  • Current treatment with buspirone or an SSRI/SNRI/atypical antidepressant (specifically bupropion, fluoxetine, levomilnacipran, citalopram, milnacipran, desvenlafaxine, mirtazapine, duloxetine, paroxetine, escitalopram, sertraline, fluvoxamine, venlafaxine, vilazodone, vortioxetine)

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