Psychiatry’s therapeutic frontier (Outlook Magazine, June 2014)

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From Outlook Magazine…

PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS AFFECT more than 80 million Americans, disrupting their ability to cope with daily living. Left untreated, the individual and societal costs are staggering — including disability, unemployment, substance abuse, physical illnesses, family discord, homelessness, incarceration and suicide.

Despite the prevalence of psychiatric problems, there are relatively few effective drugs for treating them. Even the best drugs are limited, treating a portion of a person’s symptoms, and many cause side effects. Novel pharmacological targets remain the best hope for diminishing the major public health impact of psychiatric illnesses, but drug makers have largely abandoned the effort following failed clinical trials. Development, they have determined, is too risky and expensive.

Current antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs remain largely unchanged from past decades. Newer modifications might be safer or more tolerable, but a truly innovative drug hasn’t been discovered for 30 years.

“Most of the drugs used today focus on the same molecular targets in the brain as drugs that were used in the 1950s and ’60s,” said Charles Zorumski, MD, the Samuel B. Guze Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology and head of the Department of Psychiatry.

For the complete article, click here.

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Posted on June 24, 2014
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