Pharmaceutical Products for Depression and Anxiety

According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global market for pharmaceutical anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines is projected to reach about $18.2 billion in 2020. However, despite their unquestionable commercial success, these products have long onset times, severe side-effects, and poor efficacy.  Depression remains the second-leading cause of disabilities globally.

Although antidepressants and anxiolytics enjoy enormously popularity, they are often ineffective and even harmful.  According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, antidepressants are relatively ineffective and have significant side effects.  These drugs are often prescribed by doctors based on bad science and biased studies.  Namely, the “selective publication of clinical trials, and the outcomes within those trials, can lead to unrealistic estimates of drug effectiveness and alter the apparent risk–benefit ratio.”

Pharmaceutical antidepressants and Anxiolytics target serotonin

All ten of the leading pharmaceutical products for treating mood disorders target serotonin pathways.  They differ in how they affect serotonin.  And some of these products also target other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine.  

The pharmaceutical industry appears to agree that anxiety and depression involve problems with a person’s serotonin system.  From there, strategies for modulating serotonin activity diverge.

Pharmaceutical antidepressants suffer from low efficacy & severe side effects

Most patients taking antidepressants either do not respond to the treatment or have only a partial response.  Within the antidepressant industry “success” is defined as a 50 percent improvement in 50% the subject’s depressive symptoms.  Notably, even this standard is achieved in less than half the patients taking antidepressants. 

Although patients cannot reasonably rely on the efficacy of antidepressants, they can rely on experiencing side effects. Eighty-six percent of people taking antidepressants experience one or more side effects. Those side effects include suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, insomnia, loss of mental abilities, nausea, and weight gain.

Unmet need for fast-acting, effective antidepressants without severe side effects

There exists an unmet need for safe and effective ways of modulating serotonin activity in humans. There exists an unmet need for better antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Existing pharmaceutical products usually lead to severe unwanted side-effects.  Accordingly the pharmaceutical industry still faces a longstanding unmet need for antidepressants that work quickly, effectively, and without severe side effects.

According to the Usona Institute, as of December 2017, “we currently face no greater health challenge than the need to find new and more effective treatments for depression and anxiety.”

According the Beckley Foundation in May of 2016, “There is an unmet need for finding new treatments [for depression], as only 50% of patients respond to antidepressants, and about 20% do not respond to any treatment.”