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Recent advances in the psychopharmacology of major depressive disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Laith Alexander, Allan H. Young

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJPsych Advances
Accepted/In press2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: A.H.Y. has delivered paid lectures or sat on the advisory boards for the following companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders: AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Sunovion, Servier, LivaNova, Janssen, Allegan, Bionomics, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. He is a consultant to LivaNova and Johnson & Johnson; has received honoraria for attending advisory boards and presenting talks at meetings organised by LivaNova; and is Principal Investigator on the following: the Restore-Life VNS registry study funded by LivaNova; ‘An open-label, long-term, safety and efficacy study of intranasal esketamine in treatment-resistant depression’ (ESKETINTRD3004); ‘The effects of psilocybin on cognitive function in healthy participants’ (IRAS ID 246135); and ‘The safety and efficacy of psilocybin in participants with treatment-resistant depression (P-TRD)’ (NCT03775200). He receives or has received grant funding from: NIMH (USA); CIHR (Canada); NARSAD (USA); Stanley Medical Research Institute (USA); MRC (UK); Wellcome Trust (UK); Royal College of Physicians (Edin); BMA (UK); UBC-VGH Foundation (Canada); WEDC (Canada); CCS Depression Research Fund (Canada); MSFHR (Canada); NIHR (UK); and Janssen (UK). Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

King's Authors


SUMMARY This review highlights some of the recent advances in the psychopharmacology of major depressive disorder (MDD). We synthesise evidence on emerging pharmacological therapies targeting the serotonergic system, before exploring several novel treatment targets: the glutamatergic system, the GABAergic system and inflammation. When describing new treatment avenues, we examine the evidence base and how far these new treatments are from routine practice.

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