Next Generation Antidepressants

Blog Post by Stephen M. Stahl, MD, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, Chairman, Neuroscience Education Institute and Chad E. Beyer, PhD, MBA, Director, Medications Development, Lohocla Research Corporation, Associate Professor – Research, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Despite robust advances in our understanding of mood disorders, many of the complex processes, namely, our appreciation of disease etiology and developing more effective pharmacotherapies are still being explored. The World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that mood disorders, in particular major depression, will become the second leading cause of death by the year 2020 – due mainly to complications arising from stress and the cardiovascular system. Consequently, the need to develop novel and more effective treatment strategies for the millions of patients suffering with mood disorders has never been more paramount. Current treatment options include molecules designed to specifically elevate central nervous system levels of biogenic amines (e.g., serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine, and dopamine). Although some of these medicines are modestly effective in some populations of depressed patients, there are still considerable limitations associated with all commercially-available antidepressants. For instance, delayed onset of efficacy, treatment resistance, and deleterious side effects such as sedation and sexual dysfunction are just some of the liabilities encountered with the present generation of antidepressants. We are very enthusiastic about our current book and the many leading experts that contributed chapters to improve our understanding of the current landscape and state of the field for depression research. This book also takes a critical eye towards shedding light on where the future of mood disorders research is headed in terms of novel therapeutic targets, preclinical model development, exploring depression endophenotypes, and medicinal chemistry strategies. As depression research has evolved over the past 50 years, the next decade will be instrumental in facilitating a move beyond our current understanding and pharmacological treatment options, and strive to discover more personalized and effective treatment options to ameliorate the chronic and debilitating symptoms of mood disorders. We feel strongly that this book will educate readers about understanding mood disorders as well as contribute to the development of the “Next Generation of Antidepressants.”

Next Generation Antidepressants, Moving Beyond Monoamines to Discover Novel Treatment Strategies for Mood Disorders, edited by Chad E. Beyer and Stephen M. Stahl is available from Cambridge University Press

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