Recruitment and enrollment of elderly persons with depression into a clinical drug trial

C. Y. Cooler*, S. I. Finkel, M. B. Moran, E. M. Richter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of several recruitment methods in identifying and enrolling depressed geriatric outpatients in a clinical trial and to identify the most common reasons potential study participants were not enrolled. It entailed a retrospective review of enrollment logs and records in an academic affiliated psychiatric clinical trials center in an urban setting. The participants were persons who inquired about a geriatric depression clinical drug trial and these were judged as eligible or otherwise for inclusion. Less than 10% of the 257 individuals who inquired were eligible and subsequently enrolled in the study. The most effective recruitment strategies were paid advertisements in newspapers and physician referrals. Less than 10% of patient inquiries regarding a double-blind study in elderly patients comparing two approved treatments for depression led to the enrollment of evaluable patients. Careful pre-screening by telephone reduced costs associated with screening unsuitable patients by nearly $26 000. Paid advertisements in newspapers were much less efficient than obtaining referrals from health care providers. Seasonal variation in inquiries and enrollment cannot be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 27 1999


  • Clinical trials
  • Depression
  • Geriatrics
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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