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A novel type of drug shows possible gain for those in need of alternate treatment options for depression. Lanicemine, the drug, works similarly to ketamine? A well known celebration drug that has also been examined for its effects? But without the strong psychosis of ketamine -like side effects.

A small Molecular Psychiatry, offers more support for the effectiveness of lanicemine. Unlike the NIMH study, the new study assessed whether repeated administration of lanicemine would create longer-lasting depression relief.

Currently available antidepressants, including SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), can take too much time to work, lose their effectiveness with time, or produce unpleasant or unacceptable side effects that may cause some people with this mood disorder to avoid taking these drugs.

A so-called NMDA receptor antagonist, works to alleviate depression by blocking the binding of an amino acid called glutamate into a protein found on nerve cells. Glutamate is considered to be the most crucial neurotransmitter, or nerve cell messenger, for ordinary brain function.

“This is the biggest study to date assessing the antidepressant effects of an NMDA receptor antagonist,” said Gerard Sanacora, PhD, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Yale Depression Research Program at Yale University. Other researchers and Sanacora registered women as well as 152 men aged 18 to 65 with average-to-severe major depressive disorder, or MDD, along with a history of failed treatment with multiple antidepressants. Participants were able be treated as outpatients throughout the study and to remain on their foundation antidepressants. Both study participants and the researchers were unaware of which participants were assigned to either a 100 mg or 150 mg infusion of a placebo or lanicemine three times weekly for three weeks. Treatment was then discontinued to allow investigators to examine whether the effects of lanicemine would endure throughout a five-week followup period.

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Consistent with the results of NMDA receptor antagonist studies that were earlier, the fresh study found that significant and robust antidepressant effects were generated by lanicemine with no major limiting side effects associated with ketamine, which can be utilized as an anesthetic in individuals and creatures. The researchers found that this relief was nourished with repeated doses of lanicemine, following the treatments ended, and that the effect continued for many weeks. Although the 100 mg dose of lanicemine seemed to demonstrate results that were better than the 150 mg dose, the research wasn’t made to create a direct comparison between the two doses. Researchers discovered that side effects due to lanicemine are not clinically distinctive from those due to the placebo, with the most common side effect being temporary dizziness around the period of infusion. No serious side effects were reported.

“Any new drug that may alleviate depression symptoms is to be welcomed, especially when it’s targeted on those severe instances where other medications will not be working. The early signs are that lanicemine, through its exceptional properties, may be such a drug,” said Nick Krasner, MRCGP, a professional on depression and a Regular Wellness columnist who has a medical practice in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Krasner was not involved with the research for the study.

As encouraging as these results are for people who haven’t had acceptable results with classical antidepressants, Dr. Sanacora notes that “…even this study needs to be repeated and expanded in a bigger number of folks before we can fully understand the full range of clinical benefits and potential hazards connected with this innovative category of drugs.” Continuing research will seek to better comprehend the long-term security and effectiveness in the treatment of depression of lanicemine.

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