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. 2019 Jan 9;20(1):34.
doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-3115-4.

Intravenous Administration of Adenosine Triphosphate and Phosphocreatine Combined With Fluoxetine in Major Depressive Disorder: Protocol for a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study

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Intravenous Administration of Adenosine Triphosphate and Phosphocreatine Combined With Fluoxetine in Major Depressive Disorder: Protocol for a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study

Yiyi Chen et al. Trials. .
Free PMC article


Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common psychiatric disorder. With systematic antidepressant treatment, 50-75% of patients have a treatment response but require 4-6 weeks to have their symptoms alleviated. Therefore, researchers anticipate the development of novel fast-acting antidepressants. Previous studies have revealed that the decrease of bio-energetic metabolism may contribute to the occurrence of depression, while our team has found adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and phosphocreatine (PCr) to be fast-acting antidepressants in the depressed-animal model. ATP and PCr have already been widely prescribed clinically as energy supplements for cells. This will be the first clinical attempt of the intravenous administration of ATP and PCr combined with orally administered fluoxetine in MDD.

Methods: This is a single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. A total of 42 patients will be divided randomly into three groups. Patients will receive an intravenous administration of ATP or PCr or saline twice daily combined with orally administered fluoxetine (20 mg/day) for the first 2 weeks and fluoxetine monotherapy for the following 4 weeks. Follow-up assessment will be completed at week 10. Feasibility outcomes will include percentages of patient eligibility, intention to use medication, willingness to participate, drug adherence, completion of the scheduled assessment, retention, drop-out, etc. Physical examination results, Side Effect Rating Scale, adverse events, results from blood tests, electroencephalogram, and electrocardiograph will be recorded for safety evaluation of the augmentation therapy. The trends of efficacy will be evaluated by the reduction rate of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the mean change of the Clinical Global Impression Scale, and the Patients Health Questionaire-9 items.

Discussion: In our study, ATP and PCr will be given by intravenous infusion. Thus patients will be hospitalized for the initial 2 weeks for safety concern. Hospitalization will be an impact factor for the recruitment, participation, drop-out, efficacy, results, etc. The evaluation of our feasibility outcomes, study setting, safety of augmentation therapy and possible efficacy trends among groups, will facilitate a full-scale trial design and sample size calculation.

Trial registration: NCT03138681 . Registered on 3 May 2017. First patient: 4 May 2017.

Keywords: Adenosine triphosphate; Fast-acting antidepressant; Fluoxetine; Major depressive disorder; Phosphocreatine; Randomized controlled trial.

Conflict of interest statement

Ethics approval

The Medical Ethics Committee of Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, China (2017-SJNK-001).

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations (Addtional file 1).


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Study process
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Participant timeline

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