Current State: Drug Development – Psychiatric Disorders

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Over the past decade, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of medications designed to specifically treat mental health disorders.  These include six drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia, five for Major Depressive Disorder, three for Bipolar Disorder (i.e., manic-depressive disorder) and three for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CenterWatch).  Nonetheless, many people suffering from one of these disorders either fails to respond to the degree the patient/physician hoped for, or the patient discontinues taking the medication because he/she experienced unwanted side effects.

 

For this reason, clinical drug development targeting mental health issues continues at a feverous pace.  A search of the web will reveal a large number of drugs under various stages of development.  Unfortunately, most drugs that enter the clinical  (i.e., human) evaluation phase of the drug development “pipeline” either fail to provide the desired effectiveness or they cause unwanted side effects for which the risk of taking the drug outweighs its potential for providing a significant benefit.  Moreover, in order to be approved by the FDA, the developer (e.g., pharmaceutical company) must demonstrate that the drug under development provides at least equal, but preferably better, clinical effectiveness and/or safety than other drugs currently on the market for the indication in question.  After all, there is little to no need for a new drug to come on the market that is not in some way better than others already approved to treat the same disorder.

 

As such, at any given time, there are a large number of drugs being evaluated in people in controlled clinical drug trials sponsored by major pharmaceutical companies or the National Institute of Mental Health.  For those fortunate enough to live in a New York City, for example, a search of Clinical Trails NYC should reveal studies being conducted in the New York City Metropolitan Area.  You can also refine your search for a specific disorder you are interested in knowing about.  For example, if you are looking to learn if there are clinical trials evaluating a new drug to possibly treat Major Depressive Disorder somewhere within the New York Metropolitan Area, try a keyword string such as Depression Research Studies New York City.

 

Participation in a clinical drug trial is important for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, the drug under evaluation may actually prove effective in lessening or completely eliminating your symptoms.  Even if you do not, personally, derive benefit from taking the drug under study, others might (remember, not everyone benefits from a given drug or dose).  Even more importantly, the data the drug companies derive from conducting these types of trials will either help them advance a potentially effective drug to market faster or provide insight into how to shift their strategy to one that may prove more fruitful.

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