McGill study promises faster-acting anti-depressants

Sep 05, 2007

A McGill University study has found that a new class of drugs known as serotonin4 (5-HT4) receptor agonists may take effect four to seven times faster than traditional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The study, led by former McGill post-doctoral fellow in psychiatry Guillaume Lucas with his supervisor, the late Dr. Guy Debonnel, was published in the September 6 issue of the journal Neuron.

Existing SSRI-class drugs, widely prescribed as anti-depressants, can take up to six weeks to become effective, with potentially serious clinical consequences. Dr. Lucas, now an associate researcher at the Centre de Recherche Fernand Séguin of Université de Montréal, said, "These delays are not only a matter of patient comfort, it's really important, especially when you are treating major depressions that could lead to suicide."

SSRIs work by enhancing the available concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. The McGill study focused on a new class of drugs known as serotonin4 (5-HT4) receptor agonists, which act directly on the nerve impulses of serotonin neurons.

In behavioral tests, rats on two different serotonin4 receptor agonists showed marked improvements in symptoms of chronic depression after only three days and were symptom-free after a week. In subsequent tests, three days of treatment with serotonin4 receptor agonists induced anti-depressant-related effects in the brains of the animals seen only after weeks of treatments with SSRIs.

Source: McGill University

Explore further: Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

To deter cyberattacks, build a public-private partnership

1 hour ago

Cyberattacks loom as an increasingly dire threat to privacy, national security and the global economy, and the best way to blunt their impact may be a public-private partnership between government and business, ...

Recommended for you

Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal

7 hours ago

Not all students returning to school this month will be up to date on their vaccinations. A new study conducted by Jennifer Reich, a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver, shows that the reasons why children may ...

Using computers to design drugs

Aug 22, 2014

Designing a new medicine is an expensive and time consuming business. Typically it takes around $2 billion and ten years for a new drug to move from its initial design in the lab, to the clinic. All the ...

Lilly psoriasis drug fares well in late-stage test

Aug 22, 2014

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said its potential psoriasis treatment fared better than both a fake drug and a competitor's product during late-stage testing on patients with the most common form of the skin disease.

User comments : 0