Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Strategy For Developing Fast-acting Antidepressants

Date:
December 10, 2007
Source:
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Summary:
Researchers may be able to develop an antidepressant which takes effect almost immediately by directly targeting novel molecules in the brain instead of taking a less direct route, which can lead to longer times for medication to take effect, according to a new study.

Researchers may be able to develop an antidepressant which takes effect almost immediately by directly targeting novel molecules in the brain instead of taking a less direct route, which can lead to longer times for medication to take effect, according to a new study presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual meeting. The antidepressant is also thought to be effective in people for whom previous treatments have been ineffective. This human and rodent research is among the first to examine the effects of rapid antidepressant strategies.

Lead researcher and ACNP member Husseini Manji, M.D., director of the mood and anxiety disorders program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), says one of the major limitations in existing pharmacological treatments for major depression is the time between starting to take the medication, and when it starts to alleviate the depression, often a period of one month or longer. He adds that strategies that work at much faster rates would have a tremendous impact for Americans who suffer from depression -- nearly 21 million annually, according to NIMH.

"Today's antidepressant medications eventually end up doing the same thing, but they go about it the long way around, with a lot of biochemical steps that take time. Now we've shown what the key targets are and that we can get at them rapidly," says Dr. Manji. "This research is leading to some very real possibilities for a whole new generation of antidepressant medications."

The study looked at patients in a "difficult to treat" group, meaning individuals who had not responded to other treatments including psychotherapy, traditional antidepressants or electroconvulsive therapy. This group did not attempt all treatment options, like medication. Researchers treated the depressed patients intravenously with ketamine, a general anesthetic usually used for minor surgical procedures in which muscle relaxation is not required. The doses of ketamine used in this study were considerably lower than when it is used as an anesthetic.

Ketamine produced results much more quickly than traditional antidepressants because it acted directly upon critical molecules in important neuronal circuits instead of having to bypass multiple locations en route to those circuits. Typically, currently available antidepressant medications work via serotonin or norepinephrine, neurotransmitters which act within the brain to help regulate emotion and cognition.

The results showed that patients responded after only two hours, and within 24 hours, 70% had responded. Patients were followed over time, and 35% maintained their response for up to one week. Traditional antidepressants usually take many weeks, or even months, to begin to work. "This is intriguing data which suggests that targeting these important molecules in critical circuits would be extremely helpful in treating depression more quickly, before it worsens and becomes more severe," Dr. Manji said.

The researchers also studied rodents to determine whether they could get medication to highly responsive brain areas more quickly. By looking at different biomarkers -- specific physical features used to measure the progress of a disease or condition -- in mice and rats, researchers came closer to identifying at what point in the biochemical process medication might become effective, which would ultimately lead to faster treatment.

Treating patients with rapid strategies is essential since some patients who suffer from depression are tempted to stop their medication if it doesn't work quickly enough.

Ongoing human studies using magnetoencephalography (MEG) are also helping to identify the specific brain circuits through which these rapid antidepressant effects occur. Identifying these precise circuits may lead to the development of molecules with even more precise effects, and therefore fewer side effects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. "New Strategy For Developing Fast-acting Antidepressants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071208092508.htm>.
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. (2007, December 10). New Strategy For Developing Fast-acting Antidepressants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071208092508.htm
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. "New Strategy For Developing Fast-acting Antidepressants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071208092508.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins