REVAMP - Research Evaluating the Value of Augmenting Medication with Psychotherapy: rationale and design.

Madhukar H. Trivedi, James H. Kocsis, Michael E. Thase, David W. Morris, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Andrew C. Leon, Alan J. Gelenberg, Daniel N. Klein, George Niederehe, Alan F. Schatzberg, Philip T. Ninan, Martin B. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This report presents the rationale, design, and baseline sample characteristics for the REVAMP study. This project is a multisite clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of augmenting state-of-the-art pharmacotherapy with psychotherapy in chronically depressed patients who fail to respond or respond incompletely to an initial trial of antidepressant medication. Chronic forms of major depression disorder (cMDD) are longitudinally continuous forms of major depressive disorder (MDD), and may account for a significant portion of the societal burden of disease associated with M D D. Antidepressant medications and depression-focused psychotherapies have been shown to be effective for cMDD, though the majority fail to achieve remission following an acute course of treatment. There is a pressing need to evaluate whether the outcomes obtained from a well implemented medication algorithm combined with depression-focused psychotherapy can significantly enhance outcomes for cMDD. Although there is evidence for the effectiveness of depression-focused psychotherapy for the treatment of cMDD, this is the first prospective, randomized, controlled trial investigating psychotherapy as an augmentation strategy for patients with cMDD incompletely responsive to a trial of antidepressant medication. SPECIFIC AIMS: The REVAMP study has three specific aims: first, to compare the efficacy of adding psychotherapy to a medication change versus changing medication alone in chronic depressives with partial response or nonresponse to an initial trial of antidepressant medication; second, to test efficacy of the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) as an augmentation strategy by comparing it to Supportive Psychotherapy (SP); and third, to test a hypothesized mechanism of therapeutic action of CBASP by examining whether patients receiving CBASP exhibit significantly greater improvements in social problem solving than patients receiving adjunctive SP or continued medication alone. As a subsidiary aim, the study also compares the effects of the three randomized treatments on psychosocial outcomes. The study involves two 12-week phases. During Phase 1, patients with cMDD receive antidepressant monotherapy selected according to an algorithm that takes into account their prior treatment history. Their pattern of response is evaluated, those with no response at 8 weeks or less than a full response at 12 weeks advance to Phase 2. At the beginning of Phase 2, patients who did not respond to the initial antidepressant monotherapy during Phase 1 are switched to the next medication in the pharmacotherapy algorithm and randomly assigned in a 2:2:1 ratio to one of three treatment cells: 16 sessions of either CBASP (40% of randomizations) or SP (40%) added to pharmacotherapy, or medication alone (20%) with no added psychotherapy. Similarly, patients achieving a partial response during Phase 1 have their initial medication augmented with a second antidepressant agent during Phase 2 and are randomly assigned to either CBASP, SP, or medication alone. Patients who achieve remission during Phase 1 are not randomized to Phase 2, but rather are monitored monthly for an additional 12 weeks. Recent sequential treatment studies have provided state-of-the-art knowledge about the need for multiple steps in order to achieve remission. The current study, therefore, provides an important next step in understanding the role of depression-focused psychotherapy in a treatment algorithm so essential in the management of difficult-to-treat depression such as chronic forms of major depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-33
Number of pages29
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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