Chemists at Oregon State University have discovered and synthesized a new compound that in laboratory and animal tests appears to be similar to, but may have advantages over one of the most important antidepressant medications in the world. A patent has been applied for on the compound, and findings on it published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Continued animal studies and eventually, human clinical trials will be necessary before the compound could be approved for human medical use, researchers say. "Based on our results so far, this promises to be one of the most effective antidepressants yet developed, " said James White, a professor emeritus of chemistry at OSU. "It may have efficacy similar to some important drugs being used now, but with fewer side effects." Early antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants, White said, often had undesirable effects such as constipation, dry mouth, drowsiness and hypotension, or low blood pressure. They worked by helping the body to raise levels of such neurotransmitter compounds as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and others.
Biovail Corporation (NYSE/TSX: BVF) today commented on a proposed clinical trial recently announced by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. According to Teva, the trial is intended to address reports of inefficacy and adverse events by consumers who switched from Wellbutrin XL® 300 mg, Biovail's FDA-approved brand of the antidepressant, bupropion hydrochloride, to Budeprion XL, Teva's generic formulation of the drug. The trial was described in a Dow Jones Newswire article dated December 2, 2009. Based on the limited information that has been made available about the clinical trial by Teva, Biovail believes the proposed study will not likely effectively address the complaints of consumers because it is too small in size and too brief in duration. According to the December 2, 2009 article, the proposed study will enroll 138 patients who complained after switching from Wellbutrin XL® 300 mg to Budeprion XL. The study purportedly will employ a "double dummy" design in which patients will receive both placebo and active doses of each product over 16 days, alternating after eight days.
According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking commonly used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in many ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This new study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs may be linked to a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion. "The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts' ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely related to the body's production and regulation of the hormone serotonin, " said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study.
In a study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™ in Chicago, researchers unveiled findings that show that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for depression during pregnancy. "Depression during pregnancy is an issue of concern because it has negative effects on both the mother and the baby as well as the rest of the family, " said Dr. Schnyer, one of the study's authors. About 10% of pregnant women meet criteria for major depression and almost 20% have increased symptoms of depression during pregnancy. The rates of depression in pregnant women are comparable to rates seen among similarly aged non-pregnant women and among women during the postpartum period, but there are far fewer treatment studies of depression during pregnancy than during the postpartum period. Dealing with depression is difficult for pregnant women because the use of anti-depressants poses concerns to the developing fetus and women are reluctant to take medications during pregnancy.
BENEFITS OF ICS FOR COPD MAY BE OVERSTATED Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are widely used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, new research suggests that ICS may only provide a modest benefit in reducing exacerbations in patients with COPD. Researchers from India conducted a metaanalysis of 11 studies (8, 164 patients) that reported the efficacy of ICS versus placebo in prevention of COPD exacerbations. The use of ICS was associated with a modest reduction in the occurrence of exacerbations, with a subgroup analysis revealing only a benefit in patients with a FEV1 less than 50 percent. Upon further analysis using metaregression, the researchers found no demonstrable linear relationship between the efficacy of ICS and prevention of COPD exacerbation that was related to the level of stable lung function. Researchers conclude that the role of ICS in preventing COPD exacerbations warrants reexamination. This article is published in the February issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: Chest 2010;
Wives of soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health conditions than women whose husbands are not deployed, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The study, published Jan. 14, 2010, in The New England Journal of Medicine, examined medical records of the wives of active duty U.S. Army personnel, comparing those whose husbands were serving abroad with those whose husbands were not deployed. "This study confirms what many people have long suspected, " said Alyssa Mansfield, Ph.D., the study's lead author, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and is now a research epidemiologist at RTI International. "It provides compelling evidence that Army spouses are feeling the impact of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Innovative neuroscience research and expanded clinical care have been launched at the new Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "New research here is trying to pinpoint the neurobiological mechanisms involved in mood disorders, " said Jair Soares, M.D., co-director of the center and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "We need to link those discoveries to a better way to treat the disease. In the new center, we'll be able to combine high-level care with research." According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 9.5 percent of the United States population age 18 years and older has a mood disorder in a given year. Mood disorders include bipolar disorder and depression. "All of us, if we don't have a family member with a mood disorder, we have a friend or co-worker who suffers from one, " said Soares, who is executive director of the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center and chief of psychiatry at LBJ General Hospital and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
A new study led by Mark Zimmerman, MD, of Rhode Island Hospital indicates that a majority of non-psychiatrist physicians and a substantial minority of psychiatrists reported that they often do not use the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) when diagnosing major depressive disorder (MDD) in patients. The study appears online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The criteria for MDD in DSM-IV have remained relatively unchanged for nearly 30 years. In a previous study, Zimmerman and colleagues questioned the clinical utility of the criteria. This study looks at the habits of physicians in using the criteria. The researchers asked physicians attending a continuing medical education conference to complete a brief questionnaire. A total of 291 physicians responded to the six questions, with one question asking about the use of the diagnostic criteria for depression. The question read: "When diagnosing depression, how often do you determine whether the patients meet the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder?
People who spend a lot of time browsing the net are more likely to show depressive symptoms, according to the first large-scale study of its kind in the West by University of Leeds psychologists. Researchers found striking evidence that some users have developed a compulsive internet habit, whereby they replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites. The results suggest that this type of addictive surfing can have a serious impact on mental health. Lead author Dr Catriona Morrison, from the University of Leeds, said: "The internet now plays a huge part in modern life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side. "While many of us use the internet to pay bills, shop and send emails, there is a small subset of the population who find it hard to control how much time they spend online, to the point where it interferes with their daily activities." These 'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities.
Screening for depression during pregnancy and afterward benefits women, infants, and families, according to a new Committee Opinion issued today by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) and published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Because pregnancy and the postpartum period are pivotal times to identify women suffering from depression, the College encourages ob-gyns to strongly consider screening for it. Clinical depression is common among reproductive-age women and is the leading cause of disability in women in the US each year. Between 14%-23% of pregnant women will experience depression symptoms during pregnancy and an estimated 5%-25% of women will have postpartum depression. Studies have shown that untreated maternal depression negatively affects an infant's cognitive, neurologic, and motor skill development. A mother's untreated depression can also negatively impact older children's mental health and behavior. During pregnancy, depression can lead to preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.