FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental antidepressant that targets the brain in a different way appears to both act fast and last long, researchers say.
The new drug -- called GLYX-13 -- is so far given in an intravenous form and was recently tested in patients who had not responded to other antidepressants. It began its work within hours and a single dose lasted about a week, Northwestern University researchers reported.
"We saw a robust, rapid-acting, long-lasting effect," said lead researcher Joseph Moskal, a research professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the school's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics. "In addition, we have shown little or no side effects with our compound."
One expert said the drug might prove a valuable tool against depression.
"It sounds like an exciting development," Dr. Bryan Bruno, acting chair of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said. If it were a pill, the drug could change treatment for many patients, he added. "Because it's so quick it would be a huge advantage over our current medications all of which take six to eight weeks for the full effect and at least three to four weeks to start working for most people," Bruno said.
Currently, the most popular drugs to treat depression are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro. They work by improving levels of the hormone serotonin, which may be too low in people suffering from depression.
Although SSRIs are effective in many people, not all respond to the same drugs and some people don't respond well.
GLYX-13, the new drug, is still being studied and it isn't projected to be available before some time in 2016, Moskal said. Many unknowns remain about the drug, including its long-term effects, wh
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