PerspectiveNeuroscience

A Glutamate Pathway to Faster-Acting Antidepressants?

Science  20 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5994, pp. 913-914
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194313

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Summary

Depressive illness was described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece, but effective therapeutic agents did not emerge until the 1950s. Today, almost all antidepressant drugs in clinical use increase levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, in particular norepinephrine and serotonin. Although these medications are beneficial, a sizeable minority of patients remain resistant to their therapeutic effects (1). Moreover, in most patients, there is a delay of weeks to months before the drugs take full effect. As a result, there is an urgent need to develop faster-acting drugs (24).