Background: Research on the neural circuitry underlying fear extinction has led to the examination of D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial agonist at the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor in the amygdala, as a method to enhance exposure therapy outcome. Preliminary results have supported the use of DCS to augment exposure therapy in adult anxiety disorders; however, no data have been reported in any childhood anxiety disorder. Thus, we sought to preliminarily examine whether weight-adjusted DCS doses (25 or 50 mg) enhanced the overall efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Method: Participants were 30 youth (aged 8-17) with a primary diagnosis of OCD. The study design was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled augmentation trial examining CBT + DCS versus CBT + Placebo (15 youth per group). All patients received seven exposure and response prevention sessions paired with DCS or placebo taken 1 hour before sessions.
Results: Although not significantly different, compared with the CBT + Placebo group, youth in the CBT + DCS arm showed small-to-moderate treatment effects (d = .31-.47 on primary outcomes). No adverse events were recorded.
Conclusions: These results complement findings in adult OCD and non-OCD anxiety disorders and provide initial support for a more extensive study of DCS augmentation of CBT among youth with OCD.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00864123.
Copyright © 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.