Parnika Saxena is board certified in general and geriatric psychiatry. She completed her residency at St Elizabeth's Medical Center (affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine) in Massachusetts and a clinical geriatric fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also worked as a research fellow in Clinical Psychopharmacology at Mclean Hospital (affiliated with Harvard Medical School) and also completed a psychoanalytic psychotherapy fellowship from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. Her primary research interests lie in pharmacological and interventional treatments for resistant depression. At Stanford, she works on the inpatient service, outpatient geropsychiatry clinic and the electroconvulsive therapy service. She also serves at the program director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship. In addition to her clinical and research interests, she is passionate about patient advocacy and promoting mental health legislative changes to benefit patient care and has testified in state senate hearings to that end as a physician representative of organizations like the Northern California Psychiatric Association and American Psychiatric Association.

Clinical Focus

  • Geriatric Psychiatry

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Administrative Appointments

  • Program Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine (2023 - Present)
  • Councilor at Large, Northern California Psychiatric Society (2023 - Present)
  • Vice Chair, Government Affairs Committee, California State Association of Psychiatrists (2023 - Present)
  • APA Representative and Councilor, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society (2020 - 2022)
  • Chair, Public Sector Committee, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society (2020 - 2022)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Fellow, American Psychiatric Association (2020 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Geriatric Psychiatry (2018)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Psychiatry (2017)
  • Fellowship: UCLA Psychiatry Residency (2017) CA
  • Psychoanalytic training, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (2016)
  • Residency: St Elizabeth's Medical Center Psychiatry Residency (2016) MA
  • Research Fellow, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Clinical Psychopharmacology (2012)
  • Medical Education: Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (2010) India

Graduate and Fellowship Programs

All Publications

  • Leucovorin as an Antidepressant Adjunct in Elderly Inpatients With Treatment-resistant Depression. The primary care companion for CNS disorders Saxena, P. P., Kyomen, H. 2021; 23 (2)


    OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and tolerability of folinic acid as an augmentation agent among geriatric inpatients with depression and to determine whether this augmentation was associated with decreased days of clinically needed hospitalization.METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted of the medical records of patients >60 years of age discharged from a geriatric psychiatry unit between June 1, 2014, and February 1, 2016. Two groups were compared: those with depression who received folinic acid (leucovorin) supplementation (n=35) and those with depression who did not receive leucovorin (n=80). The primary outcome measure was number of clinically needed days of hospitalization.RESULTS: The mean±SD number of days (logged) of clinically needed hospitalization in the leucovorin group was 2.0±0.7 compared with 2.4±0.6 in the nonintervention group. Unpaired t group analysis yielded the following: t115=3.47, P<.0001 (2-tailed).CONCLUSIONS: The patients who received leucovorin had a significantly reduced requirement of days of hospitalization, which translates to reduced cumulative cost of treatment during hospitalization. Further studies, including randomized controlled trials, are recommended to explore this treatment option.

    View details for DOI 10.4088/PCC.20m02767

    View details for PubMedID 34000126

  • An Emerging Paradigm for Psychiatric Practice in Integrated Care Amidst a Crisis AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Saxena, P. 2020; 28 (7): 784-785

    View details for Web of Science ID 000546691300016

    View details for PubMedID 32414628

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7195262

  • Opioidergic Agents as Antidepressants: Rationale and Promise CNS DRUGS Saxena, P. P., Bodkin, J. 2019; 33 (1): 9-16


    Research concerning psychiatric issues relating to opioid drugs currently focuses primarily on their role in reinforcing addictive behaviors, given the recent proliferation of lethal abuse of illicit opiates in the United States and around the world. In contrast, this article will review the mechanism of action of opioids in affective disorders and the available evidence and potential for their use, especially in the treatment of resistant major depression. Buprenorphine is the opioid derivative of special interest; we review this and other opioid derivatives, highlighting the growing role of opioids in treating depressive illnesses and other related psychopathologies.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40263-018-0584-7

    View details for Web of Science ID 000455498500002

    View details for PubMedID 30430396

  • WHAT MATTERS MOST: A NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF OLDER ADULTS Pate, R., Cassidy-Eagle, E., Gould, C., Makowski, M., Herbst, S., Saxena, P., Kim, D., Wroolie, T., Therrien, S., Lin, F., Sommer, B., Thompson, D. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2023: S93
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLNESS GROUP FOR OLDER ADULTS Eagle, E., Gould, C., Makowski, M., Herbst, S., Pate, R., Saxena, P., Kim, D., Wroolie, T., Therrien, S., Lin, F. V., Sommer, B., Gallagher-Thompson, D. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2023: S106-S107
  • Commentary on "Association of Race, Ethnicity, Education, and Neighborhood Context With Dementia Prevalence and Cognitive Impairment Severity Among Older Adults Receiving Medicaid-Funded Home and Community-Based Services". The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Saxena, P. P. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jagp.2022.12.193

    View details for PubMedID 36690518

  • Commentary on 'Perspectives on the Clinical Use of Pharmacogenetic Testing in Late-Life Mental Healthcare: A Survey of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry Membership' AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Saxena, P. 2022; 30 (5): 572-574

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jagp.2021.10.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000792930900004

    View details for PubMedID 34799249

  • Invited Perspective on "A Comparison of Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics With Oral Antipsychotics on Time to Rehospitalization Within One Year of Discharge in Elderly Patients With Schizophrenia" AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Saxena, P. P., Small, G. W. 2020; 28 (1): 31-32

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.08.024

    View details for Web of Science ID 000500700200004

    View details for PubMedID 31585691

  • Predictive value of depression and social support with respect to alcohol abstinence. Indian journal of psychological medicine Saxena, P. P., Mital, A. K. 2011; 33 (2): 115-8


    CONTEXT: Two co-morbid conditions which have been found in high proportions among treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent subjects are depression and low social support.AIM: We attempted to study both the factors simultaneously in the setting of Alcoholics Anonymous centers in Mumbai. The study intends to understand (1) if pre-existing depression affected the probability of a person abstaining from alcohol and (2) if social support affected the probability of a person abstaining from alcohol. A thorough review of the existing literature was done before initiating the study.MATERIALS AND METHODS: A single-observer, cross-sectional study was conducted. Subjects with a history of alcohol dependence were included. However, those with other substances abuse and those with a history of anti-depressant usage were excluded. Questionnaires were administered. The Hamilton Depression Scale assessed depression. Similarly, social support was assessed by Social Provisions Scale by Weiss.RESULTS: According to this study depression does not affect alcohol abstinence as the chi(2) test shows an insignificant result. Social support also showed a negative correlation with alcohol abstinence.CONCLUSION: This result is consistent with the findings of other studies such as Davidson et al. (1998). However it is not consistent with the results of the studies having a longer follow-up period. The study had some limitations primarily due to time constraints, the main one being that this study would reveal more significant results if done as a longitudinal study as opposed to a cross-sectional study. Also while interacting with subjects in a group like Alcoholics Anonymous it is important to gain the confidence of the group before obtaining confidence of the individual.

    View details for DOI 10.4103/0253-7176.92050

    View details for PubMedID 22345832