Buprenorphine/samidorphan combination for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder: results of a phase III clinical trial (FORWARD-3)
Received 22 December 2018
Accepted for publication 11 February 2019
Published 4 April 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 795—808
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder
John M Zajecka,1,2 Arielle D Stanford,3 Asli Memisoglu,4 William F Martin,5 Sanjeev Pathak3
1Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Psychiatric Medicine Associates, LLC, Skokie, IL, USA; 3Department of Clinical Research, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA; 4Department of Biostatistics, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA; 5Clinical Operations, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA
Background: The endogenous opioid system is a fundamental regulator of mood in humans. Previously reported clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of the investigational agent buprenorphine/samidorphan (BUP/SAM) combination, an opioid-system modulator, for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. We present here a third phase III study of different design.
Methods: Adult patients with major depressive disorder and inadequate response to antidepressant therapy were enrolled in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, placebo run-in study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of adjunctive BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg. Patients with baseline Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score ≥20 received double-blind placebo in addition to background antidepressant therapy for 4 weeks. Nonresponders were randomized to receive adjunctive BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg or placebo for 6 weeks. The primary end point was change in Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)-10 total score from randomization at baseline to the end of the 6-week treatment period.
Results: Least-squares mean change in MADRS-10 score at end of treatment was -4.8 (SE 0.67) in the BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg group and -4.6 (SE 0.66) in the placebo group (mean difference -0.3 [SE 0.95], P=0.782). There were no differences in MADRS-based response or remission rates. Overall, 42.9% of the BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg group and 34.5% of the placebo group experienced at least one treatment-emergent adverse event during the 6-week treatment period, most of which were mild or moderate in severity. There were no clinically important changes in laboratory parameters, weight, or vital signs and no evidence of abuse potential during treatment or opiate-withdrawal symptoms post treatment.
Conclusion: Efficacy results in FORWARD-3 measured by change in MADRS-10 score did not meet the primary end point, but postbaseline improvement in MADRS-10 in the BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg group was consistent with that seen in previously reported trials. BUP/SAM 2 mg/2 mg was well tolerated.
Keywords: buprenorphine, samidorphan, randomized clinical trial, adjunctive therapy, study design, placebo response, opioid system modulator
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