The main research interests of the Unit include: (a) pharmaco-epidemiology, oriented to describe the beneficial and harmful effects of psychotropic drugs in ordinary practice; (b) randomized controlled trials, oriented to assess the efficacy and tolerability profile of psychotropic drugs in experimental conditions; (c) systematic reviews, oriented to summarize clinical trial findings using meta-analytical techniques.
Recent achievements of the Unit include the production of systematic reviews in the field of antidepressants and antipsychotics, together with the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group (CMD) group; the development of tools oriented to improve the rational use of psychotropic drugs in low and middle income countries; the production of evidence based guidelines. In 2017 the Unit members founded Cochrane Global Mental Health, a Cochrane network that supports the production, dissemination and implementation of systematic reviews relevant to mental health in low- and middle-income countries.
Currently, the Unit coordinates STAR Network (Servizi Territoriali Associati per la Ricerca), a group of physicians working in Italian psychiatric services that collect data for multi-centre studies. STAR Network has finalised a number of pharmaco-epidemiological studies in people exposed to psychotropic drugs, and is currently recruiting patients for a multi-centre observational study on long acting antipsychotics. Additionally, the Unit coordinates a randomised controlled trial (funded by Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco) to assess the comparative tolerability, safety and efficacy of Vortioxetine compared with the SSRIs as a group in elderly patients affected by major depression. The primary outcome will be the withdrawal rate due to adverse events.
The Unit is currently coordinating an Horizon2020 project called RE-DEFINE, which aims to test the effectiveness of an innovative psychological intervention for preventing the onset of mental disorders in refugees and asylum seekers with psychological distress resettled in middle-income and high-income countries. The project focuses on adaptation, testing, and implementation of Self Help Plus (SH+), a novel trans-diagnostic self-help preventive psychosocial intervention specifically developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to respond to humanitarian crises. The cost-effectiveness of SH+ will be tested in two large, multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trials. One study will be conducted in Italy, Germany, Finland, Austria, and in two UK sites, and a second study will be conducted in Turkey.
Over the years, the Unit members have published hundreds of scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals. The Unit Coordinator, Professor Corrado Barbui, is Editor-in-Chief of Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, a Cambridge University Press scientific journal with an impact factor of 5.684.
- Contact people