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Posted by on Sep 8, 2012 in Science |

No new psychiatric medication in 30 years

No new psychiatric medication in 30 years

Despite research efforts and the immense importance of mental illness, drug companies have been unable to bring to market a single new drug in the mental health field in the past 30 years.

Drug companies move by profit like any other company. Mental illness is unfortunately very common. Logic says that companies should invest and develop molecules that alleviate this gigantic problem. The fact is that, despite the efforts, have been unable to make progress in this area. All new drugs are actually reformulations substances discovered a few years ago. The consequence is that these companies stop investing in the area of mental health. Not interested.

Major mental illness medications are antidepressants, antipsychotics and anxiolytics. The findings were quite casual and based on clinical observations, were not designed along the lines: I know the problem, drug development, I try and marketed. These drugs produce their effect by an unknown mechanism which left only after checking.

Currently such drugs would not have been discovered since no genetic or molecular basis to say what the problem in a psychosis. Moreover, mental illness animal models do not work. How do we know that a mouse is schizophrenic, autistic, depressed or anxious? How do we know this is a cure?

A good model of drug discovery is cancer. We know cancer biology, the genes involved and we can design molecules that fight. Strains of mice can design and test cancer them. And even more importantly, we know that no single cancer. Distinguish between breast cancer and one lung, we investigated separately and treat them differently. Cancer therefore concentrates investment from pharmaceutical companies. Move against him and the investment is profitable.

But the brain is enormously complex. When we speak of schizophrenia do not really know what we mean. It is not a disease but a very heterogeneous group of disorders are difficult to classify. Naturally unknown genes involved and the biochemical disease. Thus, how can we make progress? Worse is depression. From a completely disabling disorder to a small symptom we can all suffer at some point. What is depression?

The evolution of the pharmaceutical model for mental illness has failed. In the future, the strategy must change. The biochemical study of mental illness is essential. Also cataloging the various syndromes and mental illness. Only then will we have new drugs to alleviate the suffering that entails mental illness.