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Depression is an illness that can affect 20% of the people at least once during their lifetime. According to World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020 emotional state disorders, in developed countries, could be the foremost reason to leave work.

Jorge Emilo Ortega Calvio, faculty of medicine and odontology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), analyzed the current antidepressant drugs. The goal was to develop treatment strategies that are more efficient than those currently offered.

The task of anti-depressive drugs is to balance the levels of noradrenaline and serotonin. The biggest drawback of this approach is that only 60-70% of patients respond to this type of treatment. In addition it takes 2-4 weeks before symptoms begin to improve, and as a result, many patients stop taking the medication before it has had time to take effect.

By combining the common treatments with the new targets the antagonist pharmaceutical drugs of the adrenoceptors will help boost, or increase, neurotransmission already existing in the brain. Post-mortem brains of patients previously diagnosed with depression, and who had committed suicide, were found to have the adrenoceptors to be altered with an increased ‘braking’ effect higher than expected. This ‘braking’ effect keeps the neurotransmission system from functioning normally. The idea is to reduce the ‘braking’ effect of adrenoceptors and hopefully to allow the anti-depressant drugs to work more often and faster.