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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Adults Needed for Complicated Grief Study at Pitt

PITTSBURGH, April 29, 2010 - Researchers from the Late-Life Depression Evaluation and Treatment Program at the University of Pittsburgh are seeking adults ages 18 to 95 who have experienced the loss of a loved one and are having emotional difficulties coping with grief. The purpose of the study is to measure response to the drug citalopram when it is administered with or without a psychotherapy that is called complicated grief treatment.

Complicated grief is a bereavement reaction in which acute grief is prolonged, causing distress and interfering with functioning. Citalopram has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder, but is not FDA-approved for the treatment of complicated grief.

There are three steps to the study:

  • Initial screening, evaluation and laboratory tests
  • Treatment, which is either Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT) plus citalopram; CGT plus placebo; citalopram without CGT; or placebo without CGT. The treatment phase lasts for 16 to 20 weeks.
  • Post-treatment assessment and final follow-up phase. Six months after the end of treatment, follow-up is conducted via telephone assessment. The total amount of time required of participants is about three to four hours for the initial assessment, up to 16 study visits lasting about an hour and a half each, and a 30-minute phone call. The total length of study time is 10 months.

This study is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For more information, call (412) 246-6006 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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