SEATTLE -- (12/20/2017) -- More than 16 million Americans suffered at least one major episode of depression just in the last year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Medications aren’t always effective; in fact, 30 percent of patients don’t respond. Doctors across the country are now testing a drug combination for patients with drug-resistant depression.
Laura Miller has suffered from depression since she was in her twenties. She’s tried ten medications, but nothing has worked.
“You don’t want to get out of bed; you really don’t want to do anything at all,” Miller told Ivanhoe.
Doctor Arifulla Khan hopes he is on to something to help people with treatment-resistant depression. AXS-05 is a combination of dextromethorphan, an ingredient in cough syrup, and bupropion, an antidepressant.
“So that medication inhibits the excretion, body breakdown of dexomethorphan, which is considered to be the potentially effective antidepressant,” Arifulla Khan, MD, Medical Director, Northwest Clinical Research Center explained.
In theory, AXS-05 will allow the dextromethorphan to reach levels in the body that will ease depression. Doctor Khan is testing that in a phase three trial, seeing if the drug combination works better than bupropion alone.
Doctor Khan stated, “Theoretically should be effective, but that needs to be proven with data.”
Laura Miller is watching, with hope.
Miller explained, “To be able to feel normal and be able to get things done and be able to concentrate and to be able to have emotions. I couldn’t put a price on it.”
All patients in the trial will get bupropion for six weeks. Some will then be switched to AXS-05; the rest will stay on bupropion. The trial is running at 47 sites. See the related links section of this story for more information.