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March 1990

GABAmimetics: A New Class of Antidepressant Agents?

Author Affiliations

University of Maryland Maryland Psychiatric Research Center Baltimore, MD 21228

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(3):287-288. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810150087013

To the Editor.—  We report a case study of an antidepressant action of progabide, a ɣ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist, in a patient previously unresponsive to other antidepressant drug therapies. To our knowledge, selective GABA agonists have not been previously pursued as antidepressant therapies. Indeed, manipulation of monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems with tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors has been the traditional therapeutic approach for depression.1 However, serious side effects in some depressed patients and nonresponse in others have left many depressed individuals no pharmacological treatment options. In recent years both preclinical and some preliminary clinical studies have focused on the possible role of GABA in depression.2,3 Since GABAmimetic therapy might have a different mechanism of neural action from current drugs, it would provide an important alternative treatment approach to depression.

Report of a Case.—  A 46-year-old woman had an 8-year history of major depressive disorder (DSM-III) associated

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