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Pitt and UPMC to Assess Whether Medicine Used for Detox Can Help Older Depressed Adults 

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 23, 2015 – Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC are testing a unique drug, often used to treat both opioid addiction or severe pain, to determine if it can help people suffering from late-life treatment resistant depression (LL-TRD).
Researchers will assess the clinical effects of buprenorphine in treating LL-TRD while also determining optimal dosing strategies. This type of depression is a common condition that has serious consequences including worsened medical conditions, increased caregiver burden, higher mortality rates and suicide. 
“We observed that buprenorphine improved symptoms of depression for people who were taking the drug for other reasons,” said Jordan F. Karp, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, anesthesiology, and clinical and translational science at the Pitt School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “While it is unusual to use a narcotic to treat depression, we are hopeful that using a low-dose of this drug will greatly improve the lives of people who are suffering from this difficult disorder and have not responded to other medications.”
Individuals age 50 or older, currently in an episode of major depression, and not abusing alcohol or narcotics, may be eligible to participate in this clinical trial. Participation involves a brain MRI. Participants receive all interventions at no cost to them or their insurance.
For more details regarding the study, please call 412-246-6021. All calls are confidential.

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