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J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63 Suppl 2:8-13.

Factors contributing to failed trials of new agents: can technology prevent some problems?

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  • 1Healthcare Technology Systems, Inc., 7617 Mineral Point, Suite 300, Madison, WI 53717, USA.


For psychiatry to contribute to the development of the next generation of antidepressant pharmacotherapies, effective use of clinical trial methods is as critical as innovation in neurochemical research. Results from clinical trials on the efficacy of a new drug can be obscured by methodological problems. Accurate diagnosis and precise measurement of the clinical symptoms during conduct of the clinical trials are crucial to obtaining interpretable outcomes. As tools that reliably diagnose disorders and assess symptoms become available, computer administration of rating instruments may improve the accuracy of clinical trial results. This article describes methodological factors that can confound study outcomes and discusses the potential for interactive voice response (IVR) technology to address some of these problems.

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