Emerging Treatment Options in Psychiatry

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that untreated mental disorders accountfor 13% of the total global burden of disease, and by 2030, depression alone will be the leadingcause of disability around the world – outpacing heart disease, cancer, and HIV. This grim pictureis further compounded by the mental health burden delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.The lack of novel treatment options in psychiatry is restricted by a limited understanding in theneuroscience basis of mental disorders, availability of relevant biomarkers, poor predictability inanimal models, and high failure rates in psychiatric drug development. However, theannouncement in 2019 from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for approvals of newinterventions for treatment-resistant depression (intranasal esketamine) and postpartumdepression (i.v. brexanolone), demand critical attention. Novel public-private partnerships indrug discovery, new translational data on co-morbid biology, in particular the ascendance ofpsycho-immunology, have highlighted the arrival of a new frontier in biological psychiatryresearch for depressive disorders!