New Compounds Could Bring Depression Relief in 24 Hours

In the Pipeline: Agents for Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders
In the Pipeline: Agents for Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders
New compounds, which target the neurotransmitter GABA, provided relief of symptoms within 24 hours in rats with fewer side effects than SSRIs.

A new study by researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine has identified promising compounds that could successfully treat depression in less than 24 hours while minimizing side effects. Although they have not yet been tested in people, the compounds could offer significant advantages over current antidepressant medications.

The research, led by Scott Thompson, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was published this month in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Currently, most people with depression take medications that increase levels of the neurochemical serotonin in the brain. The most common of these drugs, such as Prozac and Lexapro, are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Unfortunately, SSRIs are effective in only a third of patients with depression. In addition, even when these drugs work, they typically take between three and eight weeks to relieve symptoms.

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