Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scopolamine: An old drug with new psychiatric applications

Date:
February 12, 2013
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Scopolamine is an anticholinergic drug with many uses. For example, it prevents nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.

Scopolamine is an anticholinergic drug with many uses. For example, it prevents nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.

However, scopolamine is re-emerging as an antidepressant, with recent studies showing that scopolamine can rapidly improve mood in depressed patients. In addition, in a new study published in Biological Psychiatry this month by Dr. Moriel Zelikowsky and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, it may also be a possible treatment for anxiety disorders.

Exposure therapy, where the key goal is the elimination of fear through repeated 'safe' exposure to the threat, is commonly employed for the treatment of anxiety disorders. However, its effectiveness is diminished because humans and animals alike tend to be very sensitive to context, causing extinction learning to be dependent on the environment in which it occurs. This makes memories formed during extinction unstable. As a result, extinguished fears commonly return when people put themselves in new situations.

"Current research aimed at treating this problem either employs invasive, untranslatable methods or attempts to strengthen extinction learning rather than prevent relapse," explained senior author Dr. Michael Fanselow.

In an effort to solve this dilemma, Fanselow and his team took a novel theoretical approach. Employing an animal model of exposure therapy, they found they were able to disrupt the rats' contextual processing during extinction using low doses of scopolamine, which blocked the return of fear when the rats were exposed to both the original and a new context.

"This finding provides groundbreaking evidence that changing the nature of extinction learning, rather than its magnitude, can produce profound improvements in the prevention of relapse," added Fanselow.

Scopolamine also slowed the rate of extinction memory formation, which was overcome by adding training sessions. Taken together, these findings indicate that scopolamine may serve as a promising pharmacological adjunct to exposure therapy by improving one's resiliency to environmental changes.

"The emerging new uses for scopolamine are quite promising, although further research is needed," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "These new data are a wonderful example of the capacity of translational neuroscience approaches to identify new uses for old medications."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Moriel Zelikowsky, Timothy A. Hast, Rebecca Z. Bennett, Michael Merjanian, Nathaniel A. Nocera, Ravikumar Ponnusamy, Michael S. Fanselow. Cholinergic Blockade Frees Fear Extinction from Its Contextual Dependency. Biological Psychiatry, 2013; 73 (4): 345 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.08.006

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Scopolamine: An old drug with new psychiatric applications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111931.htm>.
Elsevier. (2013, February 12). Scopolamine: An old drug with new psychiatric applications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111931.htm
Elsevier. "Scopolamine: An old drug with new psychiatric applications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111931.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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:

More Coverage


Drug Could Aid Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Feb. 21, 2013 Scopolamine is a drug with many uses. Treating anxiety disorders may become a new use for it, new life science research ... read more
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