The Army is set to launch a major research initiative to look into the effectiveness of commonly-prescribed medications for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To date, only two anti-depressants – Paxil and Zoloft – have been approved specifically by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manage symptoms of PTSD. However, military and Veterans Affairs Department physicians also prescribe other off-label medications to help alleviate combat-related PTSD symptoms, although there is little data on how effective these medications are.
Army Maj. Gary Wynn of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Col. David Benedik, associate director for the Center of the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, shared that clinical trials to evaluate such commonly-prescribed PTSD medications as the antidepressant Cymbalta, mirtazapine, prazosin, and atypical antipsychotics like Seroquel will start next year, during a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Philadelphia on Monday.
Wynn shared: “We’re trying to advance the science to catch up with clinical practice… This effort will seek to provide clinicians with a higher level of evidence when choosing a drug.” He said further that “for pharmaceuticals that show benefits in treating combat-related PTSD, the Department of Defense may work toward a new indication or change in labeling.”
The Army research will test these medications over the next few years at multiple sites, with service members and Veterans. The researchers are expected to publish the results from the first trial by 2016.