Severe Mood Dysregulation | Characterization and Sequential Pharmacotherapy of Severe Mood Dysregulation

Severe Mood Dysregulation research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

This project will characterize children and adolescents with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) and conduct a pilot study of combination pharmacotherapy as a basis for future intervention trials. Eligible participants assessed for SMD will have 4 weeks open titration with lisdexamfetamine (LDX) to optimal dose, followed by double-blind randomization to fluoxetine (N=25) or placebo (N=25) in combination with optimized LDX for an additional 8 weeks. Participants will be monitored for clinical response and adverse events. Specific aims are: #1: To define youth meeting SMD criteria in terms of psychiatric comorbidity, neurocognitive functioning, and a potential \"bio-signature\" derived from electroencephalography (EEG). Specific hypotheses to be tested include: 1) that SMD participants will differ in comparison to non-SMD individuals in our pre-existing database on patterns of a) psychiatric comorbidity, b) symptoms, c) behavioral ratings, and d) neurocognitive functioning, and 2) that a distinct EEG bio-signature will be confirmed in individuals formally diagnosed with SMD. #2: To conduct a preliminary study of sequential pharmacotherapy for SMD with a stimulant followed by randomized, placebo-controlled selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy to evaluate the feasibility of recruitment and enrollment and assess the suitability of the proposed combination treatment as a basis for future clinical investigations. Specific hypotheses to be tested include: 1) that significant improvement in Clinical Global Impression - Improvement -SMD (CGI-I-SMD) scores and other secondary measures are evident after open-label LDX titration; 2) that participants randomized to fluoxetine will demonstrate additional significant improvement in CGI-I-SMD scores and other secondary measures in comparison to participants randomized to placebo; 3) that combination LDX and SSRI therapy is safe and well tolerated, and 4) that EEG profiles will normalize with treatment.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: 1. Male and female participants, ages 7-17 years. 2. Abnormal mood (specifically anger, sadness, and/or irritability), present at least half of the day most days and of sufficient severity to be noticeable in the child's environment (e.g. parents, teachers, peers). 3. Hyperarousal, as defined by at least three of the following symptoms: insomnia, agitation, distractibility, racing thoughts or flight of ideas, pressured speech, intrusiveness. 4. Compared to his/her peers, the child exhibits markedly increased reactivity to negative emotional stimuli that is manifest verbally and/or behaviorally. For example, the child responds to frustration with extended temper tantrums (inappropriate for age and/or precipitating event), verbal rages, and/or aggression toward people or property. Such events occur, on average, at least three times a week. 5. Criteria 2, 3, and 4 are currently present and have been present for at least 12 months without any symptom free periods exceeding two months. 6. The onset of symptoms must be prior to age 12 years. 7. The symptoms are severe in at least one setting (e.g. violent outbursts, extreme verbal abuse, assaultiveness at home, school, or with peers). In addition. There are at least mild symptoms (distractibility, intrusiveness) in a second setting. 8. Score > 9 on either the Inattentive or Hyperactive/Impulsive subscales of the baseline ADHD-RS. 9. Score < 12 on the irritability subscale of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist. - Exclusion Criteria: 1. As evidenced in the mania section of the Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, the individual exhibits any of these cardinal bipolar symptoms in distinct periods lasting more than 1 day, and therefore meets criteria for bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (NOS): i) Elevated or expansive mood. ii) Grandiosity or inflated self esteem. iii) Decreased need for sleep. iv) Increase in goal-directed activity (this can result in the excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences). 2. Meets criteria for schizophrenia, schizophreniform, schizoaffective illness, PTSD, or conduct disorder. 3. T-score greater than/equal to 60 on baseline Social Responsiveness Scale 4. Meets criteria for substance use disorder in the three months prior to baseline. 5. Full scale intelligence < 70. 6. The symptoms are due to the direct physiological effects of drug abuse, or to a general medical or neurological condition. 7. Currently pregnant or lactating, or sexually active without using an acceptable method of contraception. 8. Failed an adequate trials (defined as four weeks of consecutive treatment at the minimally effective dose) or severe ill effects while on therapeutic doses of SSRI therapy. 9. Hypersensitivity or severe adverse reaction to methylphenidate. 10. History of fainting after exercise, syncope, a young family with sudden cardiac death, or known structural heart defect. 11. A serious history of adverse reactions (psychosis, severely increased activation compared to baseline) to methylphenidate or amphetamines. 12. Any chronic medical condition that requires medication that is contraindicated with SSRI or stimulant therapy, or any serious chronic or unstable medical disorder. 13. Medical contraindication to treatment with SSRI or stimulant therapy. -

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Severe Mood Dysregulation

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Drug:lisdexamfetamineTitration and open label treatment from baseline visit for 12 week study.

Drug:PlaceboInitiated at end of study week 4 and continued to study week 12.

Drug:fluoxetineInitiated at end of study week 4 and continued to study week 12.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Adjunctive fluoxetineParticipants previously titrated with open-label lisdexamfetamine randomized to adjunctive fluoxetine at end of study week 4.

Adjunctive placeboParticipants previously titrated with open-label lisdexamfetamine randomized to adjunctive placebo at end of study week 4.

Open Lisdexamfetamine TitrationAll participants initially titrated with open-label lisdexamfetamine from baseline to end of study week 4.

Study Status


Start Date: January 2013

Completed Date: June 2016

Phase: Phase 2

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Clinical Global Impression-Severity-Severe Mood Dysregulation

Secondary Outcome: ADHD-IV Rating Scale

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: James J McGough, M.D.

Lead Sponsor: University of California, Los Angeles

Collaborator: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

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