Benefits and Challenges for Patients Receiving MDD Treatment Within Clinical Trials

Join Ahmed Baig, MD, chief medical officer at Midwest Research Group in Weldon Spring, Missouri, as he explores the intricate balance between potential breakthroughs and the limitations of research. Dr Baig and his team have been at the forefront of research for novel depression treatments, and while these ongoing investigations are pushing research forward, they can also have some downfalls in the process. Discover how clinical trials offer a beacon of hope for those battling major depressive disorder (MDD) and treatment-resistant depression (TRD) by providing access to innovative treatments beyond the pharmacy shelves. But amidst this hope, remaining challenges can include study limitations, access to active ingredient ending with the study, and others.

Read the Transcript:

Meagan Thistle, DepressionCare 360: How do clinical trials benefit patients who are seeking treatment for MDD and TRD? Are there any downsides to this treatment trajectory?

Dr Ahmed Baig: So, the primary benefit to patients is access to newer medications that aren't currently available at a local pharmacy, and that's particularly important for patients that have not had meaningful improvement with the existing treatments.

We commonly see patients that have tried 10 antidepressants, and they are essentially out of options and running low on hope, understandably. So, it's a really important resource for patients that are looking for something newer because the existing treatments haven't given them meaningful improvement.

Patients also derive a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment from knowing that their participation in the study will eventually help others in getting relief from their symptoms.

I will say there are some downsides, of course. Most studies, the gold standard and clinical research is a double-blind placebo controlled study, which means there's a 50/50 chance of the patient getting a placebo or the investigational product.

Typically, we try to eliminate patients from the study, or screen them and not enroll them in a study, if their depression is really bad. What I mean by that is if their depression is particularly problematic and causing functional impairment, like maybe they're on probation at work, or the depression has really put a strain on their marriage and it's at a point where they might be headed towards divorce. People like that we don't put in the study, because it's not worth the risk of subjecting them to that.

The other potential downside is that, and this has unfortunately happened, sometimes people enroll in the study. They probably got investigational product. We don't know for sure, but they have complete resolution of their symptoms. They do amazingly well. But unfortunately, at the conclusion of the study, access to the investigational product is over, so we have to kind of start with what's available commercially to kind of address their symptoms.

But overall, it's a wonderful resource. The feedback I've always gotten from patients is that they're very happy to know that there's this resource. They're happy to help others, and they benefit from this being a resource in the community.

Ahmed Baig, MD, is chief medical officer at Midwest Research Group and trained at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He has been involved in clinical research trials for the past 10 years and over 40 clinical studies. Currently, under the direction of primary investigator Dr Greg Mattingly, Dr Baig and Midwest Research Group are conducting several clinical trials for novel therapeutics in the treatment of MDD and TRD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia.

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