The pharmacological treatment of anxiety also began with a serendipitous discovery involving a compound synthesized for a completely different indication. Anti-infective research in the late 1940s produced a set of compounds with unexpected "calming effects" in rats and led quickly to the development of the meprobamate derivative introduced in 1955. Although not very effective, this compound played an important role in demonstrating the feasibility of pharmacological interventions in anxiety disorders.

The discovery of the benzodiazepines, which act on GABA-A receptor ion channels, revolutionized the treatment of anxiety with the launch of Valium in 1963. Today, the SSRIs developed for depression represent first-line therapy for anxiety disorders, supporting shared molecular mechanisms underlying anxiety and depression. 148 Although GPCRs have not historically been targets for anxiolytic drugs, they are well represented in emerging therapies, where there is strong overlap with approaches to depression. For example, CRF antagonists represent a promising new approach to treating both anxiety and depression.149 Neurokinin receptor antagonists are of interest due to NK1 receptor localization in relevant areas of the brain and anxiolytic activity of NK1 antagonists in preclinical models.150

Novel anxiolytic approaches under investigation include allosteric GABA-B receptor modulators, group II and group III mGluR agonists, selective adrenergic and serotonin receptor ligands, and cannabinoid and NPY receptor ligands, among others.151 Importantly, the discovery that atypical antipsychotic drugs are effective in treating anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder provides opportunity for investigation of the mechanisms common to anxiety and schizophrenia in both preclinical and clinical settings.71

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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