Old Drug Provides New Hope for Some Mental Illnesses

By Pfeiffer, Naomi | Drug Topics, January 6, 1997 | Go to article overview

Old Drug Provides New Hope for Some Mental Illnesses


Pfeiffer, Naomi, Drug Topics


When it comes to treating anxiety and related disorders, one drug, it is being claimed, may fit virtually all of them. At a recent press briefing, U.S. experts led by Steven E. Hyman, M.D., director, National Institute of Mental Health, offered compelling evidence of the effectiveness of fluvoxamine maleate (Luvox, Solvay), a serotonin uptake inhibitor, in helping patients with a wide range of mental illnesses from panic disorder to compulsive gambling-and even autism. The Food & Drug Administration approved the drug four years ago to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Researchers then tested it for a variety of stubborn anxiety disorders. "More than 23 million Americans suffer from major anxiety that affects their functioning," said Hyman. "The estimated annual cost is now close to $50 billion." He and his colleagues presented reports at an American Medical Association briefing in New York City recently. They emphasized the need to look at mental disorders as dysfunctions of an organ-the brainjust like any other organ dysfunction. The symptoms are "real, diagnosable, and treatable," he noted. "They are medical, not signs of weakness of character." Modern technology, such as neuroimaging and magnetic resonance imaging, can show the abnormal circuitry in the brain that underlies OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorders, phobias, and other mental ills, he added.

"Genes make some of us vulnerable, then other environmental factors trigger different kinds of nervous system responses," he said. "In post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, symptoms such as rage and paralyzing horror may persist, brought out by ordinary incidents acting as reminders of the original trauma." What all these ailments seem to share, the panelists stressed, is malfunction of the serotonin mechanism in the brain.

David A. Spiegel, medical director, Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, Boston University, said he believes the disturbance afflicts some five million Americans. He reported on his research group's eight-week study of fluvoxamine therapy for panic disorder complicated by depression (J. Clin Psychiatry 1996;57 [suppl 8] 37-41). Dosage began at 50 mg/day and very gradually increased to the maximum dose of 300 mg/day. The investigators found the drug "highly effective" for all components of panic disorder, except for agoraphobia, which responded later, he said, when the drug was combined with "exposure therapy"-behavior modification in which the patient is taught to reenter the feared site and see that he can handle it. In fact, said Spiegel, preliminary results from an ongoing treatment study of 300 patients suggest the best way to treat panic disorder is through a combined regimen of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which may include exposure techniques, plus selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRls). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Old Drug Provides New Hope for Some Mental Illnesses
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.