Science Update October 02, 2006
NIMH Researchers Discover Medication’s Antidepressant Potential
In two studies, NIMH researchers discovered the antidepressant and anti-anxiety efficacy of the medication, scopolamine (Scopace®). Study participants treated with scopolamine showed significant reductions in the severity of their depression and anxiety symptoms shortly after receiving a single intravenous dose. This reduction in symptoms persisted after treatment, which suggests scopolamine may have strong, fast, long-lasting antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. According to the researchers, patients in the studies tolerated scopolamine well and reported no serious medical adverse outcomes.
Given that antidepressant treatments currently on the market may take at least three weeks to show such reductions in depression symptoms in patients and tend to be ineffective in approximately one in three patients,1 these findings are significant; they may help scientists develop robust, fast-acting, alternative antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatments. Currently Furey and colleagues at the NIMH are looking for practical ways to administer scopolamine to patients.For more information about scopolamine and treating depression and bipolar disorder, please visit:
Furey ML, Drevets WC. Antidepressant Efficacy of the Antimuscarinic Drug Scopolamine. Archives of General Psychiatry, Oct. 2006;63:1121-1129.
1 Sackeim HA. The definition and meaning of treatment-resistant depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62 Suppl 16:10-17.
NIMH Press Office
- Mental Health Information
- Statistics on Mental Disorders
- Summaries of Scientific Meetings
- Information about NIMH
- RePORTER: Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool Expenditures and Results
- PubMed Central: An Archive of Life Sciences Journals
- Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide
- News from the FieldExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
News From the Field
NIMH-Funded Science on EurekAlert
- Out of Sync With the World: Body Clocks of Depressed People Are Altered at Cell LevelExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
- Nerve Stimulation for Severe Depression Changes Brain FunctionExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
- Nearly 20 Percent of Suicidal Youths Have Guns in Their HomeExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.