Early study suggests new way to treat schizophrenia
A drug under development for anxiety has been found to reverse schizophrenia-like effects of “angel dust” in rats without apparent side effects, according to a School of Medicine study. The drug, designated LY354740, offers a possible alternative to current schizophrenia therapies, which affect the brain’s dopamine system and may cause side effects such as Parkinsonian-like tremors. LY354740 acts by lowering levels of the chemical glutamate, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for relaying messages between neurons. Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and neurobiology, who led the study, cautions that the new drug has only worked in animal models. “This is just rats, which do not get complex cognitive disorders like schizophrenia,” she says. She and research associate Barbara W. Adams reported their findings in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal Science. Clinical trials for the drug’s use in treatment of schizophrenia are expected to begin later this year.