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Study Information

Have you ever wondered if you could control your OCD symptoms without the help of medications?

If so, the TOPS study might be right for you. Though serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) may help many people manage OCD symptoms, there are a variety of reasons individuals may like to discontinue the use of this medication. Our patients tell us some of these reasons include:

  • Sexual side effects.
  • Weight gain.
  • Cost.
  • A desire to see if they can stay well off medication.
  • Pregnancy or the desire to become pregnant.

Our past research shows us that many patients come off SRIs with little impact on their symptoms. We are interested in learning if our program can help patients safely and successfully accomplish this, by using a slow taper design and by monitoring patients' symptoms weekly throughout the treatment.

What is the Purpose of the TOPS Study?

The TOPS Study evaluates two supportive programs designed to help individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms safely come off long-term medication frequently prescribed for OCD.

In this study we focus on one type of medication, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), which include: Anafranil (clomipramine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Celexa (citalopram), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Zoloft (sertraline), Effexor (venlafaxine), and Cymbalta (duloxetine).

Eligibility Criteria

Adults with OCD who wish to stop taking long-term (2 years or more) SRI medication may be eligible to participate.


Participation in TOPS involves an initial screening appointment to ensure eligibility that includes completion of interviews and questionnaires. Eligible individuals are then randomly assigned (by chance) to one of two 22-week programs using different techniques to help people come off medication.

All study participants will receive:
  • A comprehensive assessment of their symptoms.
  • One of two 22-week programs designed to support individuals coming off SRI medication.
  • Seven biweekly medication management sessions with an experienced study psychiatrist.
  • Compensation for time spent completing study assessments (up to $100 for full participation).

More Information/FAQ

How do I know if the TOPS study for OCD is appropriate for me?

In order to see if this study is a good match for you, our research staff will conduct a complete evaluation. First, study staff will talk with you on the phone. If it appears that the study may be a good fit for you, we will invite you in for an in-person interview.

Should I talk to my doctor before I start this study?

Yes. In fact, we will ask your permission to contact your current treatment provider to discuss your care. We will also explain this study to your provider to make sure it's a healthy choice for you.

Can I still participate if I'm taking other medications?

Most other prescription and over-the-counter medications are okay to take during the trial. Our research team will help determine if the study is a good match for you based on the medications you are currently taking.

What happens if I feel worse coming off my medication?

We will be monitoring your progress very closely during the study, and our team will work quickly to address any concerns you have or any sudden worsening of your symptoms.

Is transportation provided?

On the rare occasion where participants do not have their own transportation, our researchers will try to work with participants to coordinate transportation. The options vary depending on each person's need and geographic location. The best thing to do is call 401-455-6236 to discuss transportation with a research assistant.

Butler Hospital

Area of Study
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Recruitment Status