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Study shows new strategy for developing antidepressants
Date:12/8/2007

Boca Raton, FL, December 8, 2007 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 (ACNP) 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 whi
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Contact: Sharon Reis
sreis@gymr.com
202-745-5103
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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