Clinical Toxicology and Mental Health Clinical Trials

Clinical Toxicology

The Clinical Toxicology Clinical Trial department provides a unique combination of laboratory research with clinical research resulting in high impact research.  This research provides changes and developments to clinical practices, service and guidelines.

The department’s laboratory has the ability to measure venom and antivenom levels in snake and spider bites.  It is one of only a few in the world with the capability to measure venom concentrations.

Clinical Trials currently in progress include:

  • SARPO (A non-inferiority randomised controlled trial of a Shorter Acetylcysteine Regimen for Paracetamol Overdose – the SARPO trial.  This is a study to determine if a smaller dose of the antidote for paracetamol poisoning can be used in patients that take less than 30g in overdose (smaller overdoses)
  • A RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL OF ANTIVENOM FOR RED-BELLIED BLACK SNAKE ENVENOMING.  This is a placebo randomised controlled trial of antivenom for red-bellied black snake envenoming, investigating whether antivenom within 6 hours versus no antivenom prevents muscle damage from the toxins.

Mental Health

The Mental Health Clinical Trial department’s research focus includes; deliberate self-poisoning, suicide prevention, epidemiology of suicidal behaviours, delirium, treatment-resistant depression, post-stroke depression, organ donation and psycho-oncology.

The Calvary Mater Newcastle Deliberate Self-Poisoning Clinical Registry has been developed by the department and is unique in Australia. This registry provides access for researchers and clinicians to real life data for hospital-treated self-poisoning, allowing them to investigate important clinical questions through infrastructure that is embedded within service delivery.

The department uses ‘real world practices’ looking to link the research and clinical environment to provide a unique understanding of what works and doesn’t work in practice.

The goals of the department include:

  • Reduce suicidal behaviours in various clinical populations
  • Reduce distress and depression in ambulatory oncology patients
  • Develop a safe and effective treatment for patients with “treatment-resistant depression”

Clinical Trials currently in progress include:

  • Effectiveness of the Way Back Support Service (Hunter) program- a brief, non-clinical support program for people who have attempted suicide.
  • Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) and Abdominal Pain
  • Convergent and criterion validity of PROMIS anxiety measures relative to six legacy measures and a structured diagnostic interview for anxiety in cancer patients
  • Choosing Active Surveillance for localised prostate cancer: Psychological Adjustment and Quality Adjusted Life Years

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