Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression eased quickly with experimental drug: Works in brain like Ketamine, with fewer side effects, study suggests

Date:
December 12, 2012
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Summary:
A drug that works through the same brain mechanism as the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine briefly improved treatment-resistant patients' depression symptoms in minutes, with minimal untoward side effects, in a clinical trial. The experimental agent, called AZD6765, acts through the brain's glutamate chemical messenger system. The findings serve as a proof of concept that targeting this system holds promise for development of a new generation of rapid antidepressants with fewer side effects than ketamine.

A drug that works through the same brain mechanism as the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine briefly improved treatment-resistant patients' depression symptoms in minutes, with minimal untoward side effects, in a clinical trial conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The experimental agent, called AZD6765, acts through the brain's glutamate chemical messenger system.

Related Articles


Existing antidepressants available through prescription, which work through the brain's serotonin system, take a few weeks to work, imperiling severely depressed patients, who can be at high risk for suicide. Ketamine also works in hours, but its usefulness is limited by its potential for dissociative side-effects, including hallucinations. It is being studied mostly for clues to how it works.

"Our findings serve as a proof of concept that we can tap into an important component of the glutamate pathway to develop a new generation of safe, rapid-acting practical treatments for depression," said Carlos Zarate, M.D., of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health, which conducted the research.

Zarate, and colleagues, reported on their results online Dec. 1, 2012 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

AZD6765, like ketamine, works by blocking glutamate binding to a protein on the surface of neurons, called the NMDA receptor. It is a less powerful blocker of the NMDA receptor, which may be a reason why it is better tolerated than ketamine.

About 32 percent of 22 treatment-resistant depressed patients infused with ASD6765 showed a clinically meaningful antidepressant response at 80 minutes after infusion that lasted for about half an hour -- with residual antidepressant effects lasting two days for some. By contrast, 52 percent of patients receiving ketamine show a comparable response, with effects still detectable at seven days. So a single infusion of ketamine produces more robust and sustained improvement, but most patients continue to experience some symptoms with both drugs.

However, depression rating scores were significantly better among patients who received AZD6765 than in those who received placebos. The researchers deemed this noteworthy, since, on average, these patients had failed to improve in seven past antidepressant trials, and nearly half failed to respond to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

The patients reported only minor side effects, such as dizziness and nausea, which were not significantly different from those experienced with the placebo.

Zarate and colleagues say their results warrant further trials with AZD6765, testing whether repeated infusions a few times per week or higher doses might produce longer-lasting results.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carlos A. Zarate, Daniel Mathews, Lobna Ibrahim, Jose Franco Chaves, Craig Marquardt, Immaculata Ukoh, Libby Jolkovsky, Nancy E. Brutsche, Mark A. Smith, David A. Luckenbaugh. A Randomized Trial of a Low-Trapping Nonselective N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Channel Blocker in Major Depression. Biological Psychiatry, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.10.019

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Depression eased quickly with experimental drug: Works in brain like Ketamine, with fewer side effects, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212205736.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. (2012, December 12). Depression eased quickly with experimental drug: Works in brain like Ketamine, with fewer side effects, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212205736.htm
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Depression eased quickly with experimental drug: Works in brain like Ketamine, with fewer side effects, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212205736.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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