Repurposing Over the Counter Cough Medicine as a Rapid Acting Antidepressant
Principal Investigator: Dr. Adam Kaplin and Michael Wang, ScM
Disease: Major Depressive Disorder
Research Description: Reports of depression and suicide have accelerated upward at unprecedented rates. Today, 41 million people are on antidepressants, a therapy with only a 33% success rate. Minimal insight into treatment-resistant depression exists, with few therapeutics outside of traditional treatment options. Recent research has shown success in treating depression with the anesthetic ketamine, which reactivates brain networks impaired by depression. Unfortunately, ketamine is impractical for addressing depression at large as it is highly intoxicating, government-restricted and requires intensive medical monitoring. Over-the-counter cough syrup has long been recognized to act both like ketamine and first-line antidepressants and might serve as a superior ketamine alternative with 50 years of safe and widespread use. This 15 patient clinical trial will ascertain the safety and efficacy of the active ingredient in cough syrup, dextromethorphan (DXM), in treating major depressive disorder.
Funding Partners: The Kahlert Foundation
CWR funding role: Primary funder