If clinical trials confirm the results, a new drug called could replace current antidepressant drugs that can take between three and eight weeks to relieve symptoms. The drugs used now elevate mood levels by elevating the neurotransmitter serotonin which can take six to eight weeks to kick in and are not effective in all people.
Dr. Scott Thompson, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, lead researchers to identify a new compound.. It treats depression with another neurotransmitter which is an inhibitory compound called GABA.
A hallmark of a healthy mood is the balance between excitatory and inhibitory communication. Researchers theorized that if they could use GABA to reduce the brain’s inhibitory messaging, the brain might return to this balanced state. These compounds did the trick in the area of the brain related to mood . . . . and miraculously, in 24 hours. This ability meant more precision and less side effects.
The research was tested on rats which share many structural and functional similarities to humans. In the study, rats were first stressed in ways that caused them to act as depressed as humans do. The administration of these compounds were successful in the area of the brain related to mood . . . . and miraculously, in 24 hours. This ability meant more precision and less side effects.
Dr. Thompson said that “these compounds produced the most dramatic effects in animal studies that we could have hoped for”.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that between 3% to 5% of our population suffer from major depression. That translates into 9.6 million to 16 million people who suffer from this deliberating illness.
Dr. Thompson said “there is still hope” for people who live their daily lives with depression. “Our results open up a whole new class of potential of antidepressant medications.”
The compounds need to be ready for human trials to determine if these promising results can be replicated.