This study will assess whether individuals treated with sertraline (Zoloft) and cognitive
behavior therapy will experience improvement with their depression and consume less alcohol
than individuals treated with a placebo and cognitive behavior therapy. This is a 12-week,
random assignment, placebo-controlled, double-blind study with followup assessments 1 and 3
months after treatment.
- Meets criteria for major depressive episode.
- Meets criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence thirty days prior to entering the
- Has had no more than one previous inpatient medical detoxification.
- Able to maintain sobriety for ten days.
- Able to read and understand questionnaires and informed consent.
- Lives within 50 miles of the study site, has a stable living situation, and a
reliable source of collateral reporting.
- Meets criteria for any other psychoactive substance dependence other than nicotine.
- Any psychoactive substance abuse (other than nicotine or marijuana) within 30 days
before beginning of study.
- Meets criteria for other psychiatric disorders including: panic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar affective disorder, cyclothymia,
schizophrenia, any organic mental disorder, eating disorder, dissociative disorder,
or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Has evidence of treatment resistant depression defined as more than one previous
treatment episode for depression, which can include hospitalization and/or one course
of antidepressant medication.
- Patients may not have been prescribed a specific serotonergic medication within the
month prior to study and may not have taken any antidepressant or antipsychotic
within the two weeks prior to study.
- Current use of disulfiram (Antabuse) or anti-seizure medications.
- Clinically significant medical problems: cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, or
endocrine problems that would limit participation or limit medication ingestion.
- Hepatocellular disease.
- Females who are pregnant, nursing, or not using a reliable form of birth control.
- Current charges pending for violent crime (excluding DUI related offenses).
- Previous adverse experience with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
- Current homicidal or suicidal ideation.