Existing drug can ease anxiety and panic attack symptoms, a new preclinical study shows. Amiloride, an inhaled blood pressure drug could prevent panic disorder and anxiety.

In the United States, currently, as much as 40 million individuals are suffering from anxiety disorders, among which 6 million live with panic disorder – a disorder characterized by the unexpected onset of panic attacks.

Anxiety disorders can be treated using psychotherapy and medication such as antidepressants. Panic disorders can cause number risk factors such as hereditary, traumatic childhood experiences.

In the latest study, which has appeared in the Journal of Psychopharmacology investigators from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada, wanted to find out whether an existing drug can instantly alleviate relieve the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.

The lead author Dr. Marco Battaglia who is an associate chief of child and youth psychiatry in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and his colleagues analyzed the effects of amiloride, a drug commonly used in the treatment of hypertension. The team concluded that the drug can also reduce pain sensitivity and hypersensitivity to carbon dioxide.

“Inhaled amiloride may prove to have benefits for panic disorder, which is typically characterized by spells of shortness of breath and fear, when people feel anxiety levels rising,” explained Dr. Marco Battaglia explained adding, “our findings provide a rationale for studying inhaled amiloride in some anxiety disorders and/or pain syndromes.”

The team is now working to see whether the drug shows positive effects in relieving anxiety symptoms in humans.









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