Pharmaceutical International News - May 2012
Diabetes Treatment Actos Boosts Antidepressants
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 03/05/2012 - 14:20:00
A highly-popular diabetes treatment that achieved sales of over $2.5bn in 2010 might be able to help patients with depression, according to a newly-released study prepared by medical researchers in Iran.
The research indicates that Actos (pioglitazone) is capable of making antidepressant drugs more effective, no matter whether the patients taking them are diabetic or not, the researchers say.
Used to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes, Actos was, here, given to a group of test subjects together with citalopram - an antidepressant. Another patient group was just given the antidepressant and both sets were monitored for six weeks. At the end of the trial period, the combination therapy (Actos and citalopram) patients were observed to be significantly less-depressed than those solely taking the antidepressant.
Actos Boosts Antidepressants
While conceding that further research is needed into the role of diabetes drug treatments, like Actos, in boosting the performance of antidepressants, the researchers believe their work represents a solid platform for new studies into the effect nonetheless.
"Despite the advent of several antidepressant medications, the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) is still far from optimal", Tehran University of Medical Sciences' representative, Shahin Akhondzadeh, explained in a statement. He continued: "A large proportion of patients with MDD do not respond to their first medication. To achieve favourable response, these patients are generally treated by either switching to another treatment or with augmentation therapy.
"To the best of our knowledge, this was the first randomised controlled trial that evaluated the role of pioglitazone in patients with MDD without any significant metabolic problems."
Diabetes Treatment Actos
Introduced in 2000, diabetes treatment Actos belongs to the thiazolidinediones class of drugs given to patients with the condition in Type 2 form.
In recent months, it's been linked unfavourably to bladder cancer and, in June 2011, the FDA issued a warning on this. During the same month, a French Actos drug ban was introduced, banning the treatment's supply to new patients.
"Our study showed pioglitazone is an effective and safe adjunct to citalopram in patients with moderate-to-severe MDD", Akhondzadeh added. "In particular, pioglitazone is associated with high rate of early improvement - and thus response and remission - which makes this drug a potentially useful augmentative strategy in patients with moderate-to-severe MDD."
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