Augmentation of exposure therapy with post-session administration of D-cycloserine.


BACKGROUND Pre-session administration of d-cycloserine (DCS) has been found to augment exposure therapy outcomes in a variety of anxiety disorders. To be able to enhance learning only for successful exposure sessions, it would be beneficial to have the option of administering DCS after rather than before the session, a strategy encouraged by pre-clinical work. We believe the present study is the first published report on the efficacy of post-session administration of DCS in humans. METHOD Adults (N = 29) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of acrophobia were randomized to receive two sessions of virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) in combination with placebo or 50 mg of DCS. Instead of administering the pill prior to each of the sessions, as has been done in extant work, we administered the pill immediately following each session. Measures of acrophobia severity were collected at baseline, at each treatment session, 1-week post-treatment, and at 1-month follow-up. RESULTS Mixed-effects repeated-measures ANOVAs and GLMMs revealed significant improvement in all outcome measures over time, but no between-group differences were observed. At post-treatment, 63.5% of patients in the placebo condition vs. 60.0% of those in the DCS condition were in remission. At 1-month follow up, 63.4% of those in the placebo condition vs. 66.6% of those in the DCS condition were in remission. CONCLUSIONS These findings do not support the application of post-session DCS administration for augmenting the efficacy of exposure-based treatments. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed. TRIAL REGISTRY The Trial is registered at (NCT01102803).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.09.024

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@article{Tart2013AugmentationOE, title={Augmentation of exposure therapy with post-session administration of D-cycloserine.}, author={Candyce D Tart and Pamela R Handelsman and Lindsey B Deboer and David Rosenfield and Mark H. Pollack and Stefan G. Hofmann and Mark B Powers and Michael W. Otto and Jasper A. J. Smits}, journal={Journal of psychiatric research}, year={2013}, volume={47 2}, pages={168-74} }