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D-cycloserine may improve behavioral therapy treatment for anxiety
Date:7/16/2008

Philadelphia, PA, July 16, 2008 Anxiety is a normal human response to stress, but in some, it can develop into a disabling disorder of excessive and irrational fears, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Effective treatments are available and can involve either behavioral therapy or medications. Although "it makes intuitive sense that combining these two treatments would result in even better results," David Tolin, Ph.D. notes that has unfortunately not yet been the case and the majority of the evidence suggests that combined therapy is no more effective than behavior therapy alone, and in some cases can even be less effective. However, Dr. Tolin is one of the three authors on a meta-analysis scheduled for publication on June 15th in Biological Psychiatry, in which they evaluated a potentially important new treatment paradigm for anxiety.

Dr. Tolin explains the impetus behind their analysis: "Recently, several researchers have tried a radically different approach: instead of just throwing two effective monotherapies at the problem, they have instead looked at medications that specifically target the biological mechanisms that make psychotherapy work in the first place." John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and another of the study's authors, adds that "there has now been a sufficient amount of research in this area to take a step back to look at the basic research conducted in animals and the initial clinical trials." This research effort has involved the addition of D-cycloserine, an old drug long approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of tuberculosis, to exposure-based fear treatment in animals and humans. The meta-analysis, a pooling of the published literature on this approach, provides evidence that D-cycloserine enhances the learning process in the brain, indicating that, unlike many other medications, it may improve the effectiveness
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Contact: Jayne Dawkins
ja.dawkins@elsevier.com
215-239-3674
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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