Nashville, TN, December 4, 2006 Leading brain and behavior researchers called today for a new direction to develop innovative psychotropic drugs to treat mental illness at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. The panel of academic, industry and government representatives concluded that several factors have impeded the development of novel treatments for mental illness including: incomplete understanding of the impact of mental illness on the brain; continued skepticism of results from animal models for certain disorders; an outdated paradigm of treatment and the industry preference toward so-called "me-too" drugs.
"We need to do better when treating major mental illness, and right now that means we need groundbreaking new research that will result in new medications that are both more effective and have fewer side effects than drugs currently on the market," noted Dennis Charney, MD, Dean of Academic and Scientific Affairs for Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology & Biochemistry.
The findings come in the wake of considerable debate in the academic and clinical communities as to whether newer drugs (particularly anti-psychotic medications) represent significant improvement over treatments that have been available for nearly half a century, as well as a greater recognition of the disease burden resulting from mental illness. Currently, mental disorders cause more disability than any class of illness in Americans 15 44 years, and the suicide rate in that age group is higher than annual mortality from homicide, AIDS and most cancers.
"There is near universal agreement that we've had only modest progress in developing drugs for schizophrenia and affective disorders in the past several decades. This panel discussion is part of a broader effort to determine why new drug development has been such a historically inefficient process," explained Dr
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