What can triumphs and tribulations from drug research in Alzheimer's disease tell us about the development of psychotropic drugs in general?

Robert E. Becker, Mary V. Seeman, Nigel H. Greig, Debomoy K. Lahiri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Scopus citations


Drug development for psychiatric disorders has almost ground to a halt. Some newer drugs are better tolerated or safer than older ones, but none is more effective. Years of failure in preventing or delaying the onset of illness, ameliorating symptoms, lowering suicide rates, or improving quality of life has put the commercial investments that had previously funded drug development at risk. To promote the development of psychiatric drugs with greater efficacy, we need to improve the way we bring potentially beneficial drugs to market. We need to acknowledge, as has been done in other specialties, that people differ in their response to drugs. Psychiatric drug research needs to be grounded in a better understanding of molecular brain mechanisms, neural circuits, and their relations to clinical disease. With this understanding, drugs need to be more precisely directed at specific brain targets. In psychiatric drug development, government, industry, regulatory bodies, and academia should realign to ensure medical science is used in the best interests of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)756-764
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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