Clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression could bring new hope to sufferers

More than 16 million Americans suffered at least one major episode of depression in the last year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Medications aren’t always effective. In fact, 30 percent of patients don’t respond, doctors said. 

Doctors across the country are now testing a drug combination for patients with drug-resistant depression.

Laura Miller has suffered from depression since she was in her 20s. She’s tried 10 medications, but nothing has worked. 

“You don’t want to get out of bed; you really don’t want to do anything at all,” Miller said.

Dr. Arifulla Khan hopes he can help people with treatment-resistant depression. AXS 05 is a combination of dextromethorphan, an ingredient in cough syrup, and bupropion, an antidepressant. 

“So that medication inhibits the excretion, body breakdown of dexomethorphan, which is considered to be the potentially effective antidepressant,” Khan said.

In theory, AXS 05 will allow the dextromethorphan to reach levels in the body that will ease depression. Khan is testing it in a phase three trial to see if the drug combination works better than bupropion alone.

“Theoretically should be effective, but that needs to be proven with data,” Khan said.

Miller is watching, with hope.

“To be able to feel normal and be able to get things done and be able to concentrate and to be able to have emotions. I couldn’t put a price on it,” Miller said.

All patients in the trial will get bupropion for six weeks. Some will then be switched to AXS 05, the rest will stay on bupropion. The trial is running at 47 sites. 

Get more information on the study at TRDStudy.com.