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Lanicemine (AZD6765) For Treatment-Resistant Depression: NMDA Antagonist

Lanicemine (AZD6765) is an NMDA antagonist developed by the company AstraZeneca in hopes to help people with treatment-resistant depression. Let’s face it, if you have treatment-resistant depression, you are probably waiting for some sort of breakthrough in technology and/or a new class of drugs for treatment.

Although many people find benefit from SSRI’s, TCA’s, and MAOI’s, some people don’t respond to any of these medication classes. If you don’t respond, you may feel absolutely hopeless. Fortunately there are new medications in the works that don’t target the serotonin system. They are being developed, tested, and researched and should be available soon for people to start trying.

What is Lanicemine (AZD6765)?

AstraZeneca developed the NMDA antagonist medication initially for the intent of being a “neuroprotective agent.” However, it was redeveloped as an antidepressant when research demonstrated that the anesthetic drug “ketamine” had major antidepressant properties. The drug ketamine worked very well in cases of depression, but it carried hallucinogenic side effects that made it unsuitable for treatment.

What AstraZeneca did was created something that acted similar to ketamine, but stripped it of the hallucinogenic properties. In other words, they targeted the main antidepressant properties of ketamine and took away the major unfavorable side effects. Unfortunately the drug’s development was halted in 2013.

Taking Lanicemine (AZD6765) for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Unfortunately there isn’t a laundry list of positive side effects as a result of taking Lanicemine. This is in part due to the fact that the medication never became available for public use and the production seems to have been squandered. It showed a lot of promise, but no one from the general public seems to know why a promising new medication’s production would have been halted.

  • Cortical activity changes – It has been discovered that Lanicemine produces changes in cortical activity. Specifically, it was found to increase the production of 40 Hz gamma brain waves.
  • Sustained antidepressant effect – In regards to this medication, one of the most favorable aspects is that sustained dosing is not required for an antidepressant effect. The antidepressant response seemed to last “several weeks” without a repeat dosing of the medication.

Why Lanicemine (AZD6765) isn’t used for “standard” depression

The reason Lanicemine hasn’t been used to treat cases of standard depression is because it hasn’t really been given a chance. Not only has it not been around for very long, it is no longer being produced. The potential for unwanted psychomotor side effects is still a concern that researchers have in regards to this compound. Until it goes through the barrage of clinical trials, we won’t really know how safe this medication is or could be.

Lanicemine (AZD6765) Side Effects: Is it safe?

Overall literature would suggest that Lanicemine (AZD6765) would be pretty safe to administer. Although the side effect profile was not perfect, what drug has a perfect side effect profile? It was safer than taking “ketamine” and produce significantly fewer side effects. Although I’m no doctor, from what I’ve read, there weren’t even any major psychomotor side effects as a result of this medication. Part of me wonders if there were even any significant side effects since all the studies I’ve read as well as the journals don’t seem to indicate any. This is leaving me partially clueless as to why the side effect profile would not be discussed more in-depth.

Source: http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2013130a.html

Will Lanicemine (AZD6765) ever become available?

Probably not. Although it has been found to be effective in people that have struggled with severe depression for years to no avail, it doesn’t seem as though this medication will ever hit the market. There are a number of kinks to work out with the drug and it is viewed as not having a sustainable antidepressant effect. In my personal experience with SSRI’s though, I don’t quite understand why this medication couldn’t be given a shot in patients with severe treatment-resistant depression.

I do think that similar classes of medications will go on to be developed that act as an NMDA antagonist. Only time will tell what direction drug companies are headed. Part of me thinks they are still stuck in developing crazy SSRI’s and SNRI’s, but anyone that’s taken one knows that those medications shouldn’t be considered a first line of treatment.

Source: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n1/full/nm0113-8.html

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Richard Franklin June 27, 2014, 1:02 am

    I am not a doctor, but I am depressed, probably since childhood (I am 67), which was only diagnosed in 2004 as dysthymia, a chronic, low level, persistant depression, with one common and awful side effect of anhedonia. There is a great article in the NewScientist, dated 27th July 2013, entitled ‘Rethinking Depression’. You can download this – look on the internet to find out how to do this.

    The article is about rTMS, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. This is available in the UK, but expensive – about £6,000 or more.

    The link between rTMS, Ketamine and Lanicemene is Glutamate.

    This appears to help the brain’s neurons repair themselves. The dendrites can sprout new spines and perhaps encourage the formation of new synapses.

    What do you think?

  • Mary Starry April 28, 2016, 10:24 pm

    I read that the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists do not want a cure for depression because it will take money out of their pockets. That is the only reason I believe we do not have more cures for other diseases also. It is a shame for my daughter and many other people who have no normal life. Just a life of feeling continually sick both physically and mentally.

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