The same receptors in the brain that are activated when a person smokes cigarettes also play a critical role in the effectiveness of antidepressants, according to a study by Yale researchers in the November issue of Biological Psychiatry.
What this means, particularly for patients who are suicidal, is that finding a way to activate these receptors will make anti-depressants work more quickly. Most anti-depressants now take up to three weeks to bring emotional relief. "Just the ability to block the reuptake of serotonin isnt enough, otherwise it wouldnt take two to three weeks to be effective, " said Marina Picciotto, associate professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine and senior author of the study. "This finding has implications for those patients who are depressed to the point of being suicidal, and for the 30 percent of people who are not responsive to anti-depressants that are now available."
The primary pharmacologic treatment for depression over the past several decades has been drugs that inhibit synaptic reuptake of monoamine neurotransmitters. Recent evidence indicates other neurotransmitter systems might play a role in the mechanism of action of antidepressants, Picciotto said.
Jacqueline Weaver | EurekAlert!
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