Depression [major depressive disorder (MDD)] is a mood disturbance of multifactorial origin, associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality, lack of work productivity, adverse health behaviors, and increased healthcare expenses. MDD is a leading cause of suicide, and it affects the prognosis of chronic conditions (heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer, among others). Current pharmacological treatment for MDD covers different classes of drugs, including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and atypical antidepressants. The aim of this chapter is to review the literature, highlight the side effects of newer antidepressants, and especially point out the most important aspects of the latest agents approved for the treatment of MDD in adults: desvenlafaxine, levomilnacipran, vilazodone, and vortioxetine. Desvenlafaxine is a SNRI and the primary active metabolite of venlafaxine; also a SNRI, levomilnacipran is an enantiomer of the racemate milnacipran. Vilazodone and vortioxetine are multimodal antidepressants, which combine SSRI activity with additional receptor activity. Although they have proven efficacy in treating MDD and are being investigated for other possible indications, further detailed clinical trials are needed to establish their pharmaco-toxicological profile, following prolonged administration in patients who may suffer from various comorbidities.
Part of the book: Pharmacokinetics and Adverse Effects of Drugs
Due to brain plasticity, the nervous system is capable of manifesting behavioral variations, adapted to the influences from both external and internal environment. Multiple neurotransmitters are involved in the mediation of pathological processes at the molecular, cellular, regional, and interregional levels participating in cerebral plasticity, their intervention being responsible for various structural, functional, and behavioral disturbances. The current therapeutic strategies in neuroprotection aim at blocking on different levels, the molecular cascades of the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for neuronal dysfunctions and ultimately for neuronal death. Different agents influencing these neurotransmitters have demonstrated beneficial effects in neurogenesis and neuroprotection, proved in experimental animal models of focal and global ischemic injuries. Serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, N-methyl-D-aspartate, and nitric oxide have been shown to play a significant role in modulating nervous system injuries. The imidazoline system is one of the important systems involved in human brain functioning. Experimental investigations have revealed the cytoprotective effects of imidazoline I2 receptor ligands against neuronal injury induced by hypoxia in experimental animals. The neuroprotective effects were also highlighted for kappa and delta receptors, whose agonists demonstrated the ability to reduce architectural lesions and to recover neuronal functions of animals with experimentally induced brain ischemia.
Part of the book: Neuroprotection