Psychiatric Drug Development: Why So Slow?

Hello. This is Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman of Columbia University talking to you today for Medscape. I wanted to talk about a series of developments that have occurred that are likely to affect the pace of new drug development, particularly in the area of psychotropic drugs.

I think everybody who practices clinical psychiatry knows that the rate of real mechanistic innovation for drugs in all the major drug classes — whether they are antipsychotics, anticonvulsant mood stabilizers, antidepressants, or anxiolytics –has been painfully slow. In fact, currently in this 21st century we are still using drugs that work by essentially the same mechanisms of action [MOA] as those developed as original prototypes for these classes of medications back in the 50s and the 60s. For antipsychotic drugs the MOA is still D2 antagonists. For mood stabilizers we have lithium and the anticonvulsant medications. For antidepressants we have drugs that inhibit the uptake of catecholamine and indolamine neurotransmitters. For anxiolytics we have essentially antidepressant medications and benzodiazepine receptor agonists……

By Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD

Submitted by Anna

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