Pharmacological strategies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): From animal to clinical studies

Elsevier, Neuropharmacology, Volume 218, 1 November 2022
Gasparyan A., Navarro D., Navarrete F., Manzanares J.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling psychiatric condition with a critical familiar, personal, and social impact. Patients diagnosed with PTSD show various symptoms, including anxiety, depression, psychotic episodes, and sleep disturbances, complicating their therapeutic management. Only sertraline and paroxetine, two selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are approved by different international agencies to treat PTSD. In addition, these drugs are generally combined with psychotherapy to achieve positive results. However, these pharmacological strategies present limited efficacy. Nearly half of the PTSD patients do not experience remission of symptoms, possibly due to the high prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities. Therefore, in clinical practice, other off-label medications are common, even though the effectiveness of these drugs needs to be further investigated. In this line, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, adrenergic blockers, benzodiazepines, and other emerging pharmacological agents have aroused interest as potential therapeutic tools to improve some specific symptoms of PTSD. Thus, this review is focused on the most widely used drugs for the pharmacological treatment of PTSD with a translational approach, including clinical and preclinical studies, to emphasize the need to develop safer and more effective medications.