Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent and disabling psychiatric disorders in the United States and worldwide. Basic research has provided critical insights into the mechanism regulating fear behavior in animals and a host of animal models have been developed in order to screen compounds for anxiolytic properties. Despite this progress, no mechanistically novel agents for the treatment of anxiety have come to market in more than two decades. Areas covered: The current review will provide a critical summary of current pharmacological approaches to the treatment of anxiety and will examine the pharmacotherapeutic pipeline for treatments in development. Anxiety and related disorders considered herein include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The glutamate, neuropeptide and endocannabinoid systems show particular promise as future targets for novel drug development. Expert opinion: In the face of an ever-growing understanding of fear-related behavior, the field awaits the translation of this research into mechanistically novel treatments. Obstacles will be overcome through close collaboration between basic and clinical researchers with the goal of aligning valid endophenotypes of human anxiety disorders with improved animal models. Novel approaches are needed to move basic discoveries into new, more effective treatments for our patients.
anxiety; anxiolytic; clinical trial; endocannabinoid; glutamate; neuropeptide; panic disorder; posttraumatic stress disorder
- [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]