Army Medical Agency, VA Sign Agreement on PTSD Studies

Carey Phillips

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common anxiety that can stem from any traumatic event. While there are medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat PTSD, they are not sufficiently effective in treating the combat-related PTSD commonly seen in service members and veterans.

The Neurotrauma and Psychological Health Project Management Office (PMO) of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) signed an interagency agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program (VACSP) to jointly conduct and support clinical studies of pharmacotherapeutics for the treatment of combat-related PTSD.

“The interagency agreement between USAMMDA and VACSP structures how the agencies will collaborate,” said MAJ Gary Wynn, Research Psychiatrist with the Neurotrauma and Psychological Health PMO. “While the DoD may be funding the research effort, the VA is an equal partner in the project.


Warriors from the 544th Engineer Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion perform triage for an “injured” Soldier during a demonstration at the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training lane of the Mountain Post Medical Simulation Training Center, Fort Carson, CO, Sept. 2, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Devin Fisher)

“The VA is the primary location for veterans to receive care, so we need to be looking at their populations as well as those still on active duty,” Wynn said.

USAMMDA and VACSP will collaborate in identifying and developing alternate indications for FDA-approved drugs used to treat other disorders.

“While these drugs are FDA-approved, they are not approved for the treatment of PTSD,” said Wynn. “In fact, many of the drugs currently being used have little or no research supporting their off-label use in treating PTSD.”

Currently, two drugs are FDA-approved for treating PTSD. However, studies have shown that although these drugs have helped victims of PTSD, they are less than 50 percent effective in treating combat-related PTSD. In addition, their side effects can be harmful.

“These studies are vital to understand if and how [the drugs in the collaborative USAMMDA and VACSP study] should be used in service members and veterans,” said Wynn.

  • CAREY PHILLIPS is a USAMMDA Public Affairs Specialist. She holds a B.A. in communications with a concentration in visual communications from Framingham State College and an M.S. in management with a concentration in marketing from the University of Maryland.