The FLAME Study is a 16-week clinical trial to study treatment with lamotrigine or fluoxetine
in bipolar I, II and bipolar schizoaffective depressed adults. The purpose of the trial is to
have a better understanding of whether individuals with a particular gene type and other
inherited biological markers will have a good response to fluoxetine or lamotrigine, or
alternatively, would be more likely to have side effects to this medication.
Depression is the predominant prevailing mood state of bipolar disorder and it is associated
with substantial morbidity and mortality. However, in comparison to acute mania, bipolar
depression is understudied both from the standpoint of its pathophysiology as well as
clinical trials and treatment development. Given the lack of evidence-based guidelines,
clinicians and participants enter a treatment phase with little guidance.
The FLAME Study is a 16-week, open randomized comparative effectiveness trial evaluating
genomic predictors and biomarkers of response and adverse events to treatment with
lamotrigine (n=200) and fluoxetine (n=200) for bipolar I, II and bipolar schizoaffective
depressed adults (18-65). Participants will be recruited over a 5-year period.
It is known that functionally significant genetic polymorphisms of pharmacokinetics and
pharmacodynamic pathways can influence individual differences in repose to specific
medications. We propose to evaluate the contribution of these pharmacogenomic variations to
lamotrigine and fluoxetine treatment response and adverse events. We will correlate clinical
phenotypes of response and adverse events to treatment with genotype and haplotype variations
of drug metabolism, neurotransmitter biosynthesis, (metabolism, storage, release, reuptake),
receptor and intracellular signaling-that have been previously implicated to either
lamotrigine or fluoxetine. These initial steps will be complemented with genome-wide analysis
(GWA), pathway analysis and other candidate gene studies.
Based on our results we aim to develop a translational treatment algorithm of bipolar
depression that may help individualized treatment for bipolar depression. This algorithm for
participants could potentially increase the likelihood of successful treatment interventions,
deliver the "right treatment, for the right participant at the right time", and decrease the
number of ineffective treatments and/or risk for serious adverse events.
- Adult participants, age 18-65.
- Outpatients or inpatients with a diagnosis of bipolar I, II or schizoaffective bipolar
disorder, depressed phase, non-psychotic, (DSM-5 criteria, Structured Clinical
Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders Module D
- At least mild symptom severity of depression as defined by the Clinical Global
Impression for Bipolar Disorder (CGI-BP, Spearing et al. 1997) >2.
- Bipolar I participants must be on conventional mood stabilizing treatment [lithium,
divalproex or valproate, or an atypical antipsychotic]. Participants with a bipolar II
disorder may pursue the FLAME Study as monotherapy.
- Negative urine pregnancy test.
- Participants not planning pregnancy in the near future (6 months).
- Negative urine toxicology screen (except cannabis).
- No evidence of clinically significant laboratory screening tests (complete blood count
(CBC); electrolytes; thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH); creatinine/blood urea
nitrogen, Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)/ALT). Clinical laboratory evaluation within
the last three months is acceptable.
- Inability or unwilling to provide informed consent.
- Inability to understand English.
- Actively suicidal participants at screening or enrollment visit as defined by a
response of 3 or 4 on question 4 of the Bipolar Inventory of Symptoms Scale (BISS).
- Active delusions or hallucinations defined as a score of 3 or 4 on the BISS question
40 (persecutory ideas) or 41 (delusions or hallucinations).
- Impaired insight as defined as a score of 3 or 4 on BISS question 42 (insight).
- Hypomania defined by a BISS manic subscore of ≥15.
- Axis I or II comorbidity that by referring mental health professional and/or study
psychiatrist is primary need of treatment. (This will be assessed by the site
principal investigator, who has >10 years clinical experience with this population.
Hospital discharge summaries and outpatient medical records may be reviewed (i.e.,
adequate trials of mood stabilizing treatments with minimal to no response, prominent
self-injurious behavior in the absence of significant mood symptomatology, or atypical
cycle patterns) to make this decision.
- Pregnant participants
- Unwilling or unable to taper any current antidepressant therapy
- Participants currently breastfeeding
- Female not practicing a reliable form of birth control (condom, intrauterine device
(IUD), Depo-Provera injection)
- Due to lamotrigine pharmacokinetics, female subjects wishing to commence oral
contraceptive therapy (OCT) within 3 months of enrollment date or anticipate
discontinuing OCT during study (stable oral contraceptive therapy exception).
- History of active substance abuse disorder within the last 3 months (other than
caffeine or cannabis)
- Participants with medical contraindications that preclude lamotrigine or fluoxetine
- History of severe adverse reaction to lamotrigine and/or fluoxetine
- Current carbamazepine or oxcarbazepine treatment
- Unstable active medical illness