April 29, 2015 – New Antidepressant?


Anchor lead: Could psychedelic drugs be used to treat depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Contrary to popular belief, psychedelic drugs not only don’t cause mood disorders, they are actually associated with a decreased risk of developing them.  That’s according to a study by Matthew Johnson and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, and Johnson says the finding may have much greater clinical implications.

Johnson: One of the exciting things is that in many areas of psychiatry we seem to have reached a plateau in the efficacy of our therapeutic agents, for example, in depression the SSRIs and related drugs have been effective but certainly there are many people who aren’t helped, so certainly there’s much room for improvement.  The therapeutic effects of psilocybin are exciting because they really represent not just a tweak to an existing therapeutic but a fundamentally novel mechanism.  :33

Johnson and colleagues are already engaged in research on psilocybin’s impact and are positioned to look at the drug in relation to depression.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.