Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

The trial added a daily dose of – a that has been prescribed since 1971 – to the usual treatment of 71 experiencing .

The research team, led by Deakin's Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment (IMPACT), then compared the effects to a control group taking a placebo.

The results – recently published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry – showed that those taking minocycline reported improved functioning and quality of life.

Lead researcher Dr Olivia Dean said the research took a unique "biological" approach to treating , which could inform future therapies.

"There is evidence to suggest that people with have increased levels of inflammation in their body," Dr Dean said.

"We believe that minocycline is targeting more recently understood biological factors, including inflammation. Specifically, minocycline reduces brain inflammation in cell models, and thus we wanted to see if it was useful for people."

Dr Dean said there was a huge need for improved treatment options for people with major depression.

"We've found that using old medications for new purposes is very useful," she said. "Existing medications have known safety profiles and are readily accessible so they can be prescribed immediately."

In Australia, up to one in six people will have experienced depression over the past 12 months.

"Current antidepressants are useful, but many people find a gap between their experience before becoming unwell and their recovery following treatment," Dr Dean said. "It's clear that this shortfall in recovery is probably linked to a gap in biological targets by these conventional medications."

"We aim to fill this gap by providing new, biologically-based, treatments for depression."

Dr Dean has also been leading a clinical trial using the rind of the tropical fruit mangosteen for treatment of depressive symptoms.

She said the minocycline trial was small, but did have some significant results.

"We found that those on minocycline reported significant improvements in functioning, quality of life, global impression of their illness, and there was also a trend towards improvements in anxiety symptoms."

Dr Dean and her team are now in the process of applying for funding to expand the trial to a larger group.

"This was a preliminary trial and more research is needed to determine the optimal time minocycline should be taken for. It should be noted that the trial was conducted in addition to participants' usual for depression. We're also considering a study of minocycline for people with anxiety disorders, given what we have found in this study," she said.

Explore further: Common acne medication offers new treatment for multiple sclerosis

More information: Olivia M Dean et al. Adjunctive minocycline treatment for major depressive disorder: A proof of concept trial, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (2017). DOI: 10.1177/0004867417709357

Related Stories

Common acne medication offers new treatment for multiple sclerosis

June 1, 2017
A Canadian clinical trial led by researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), shows that minocycline, a common acne medication, can slow the progress ...

First large-scale population analysis reinforces ketamine's reputation as antidepressant

May 3, 2017
Better known as an anesthetic or as an illicit hallucinogenic drug, ketamine has also long been noted for alleviating depression. But ketamine has not been tested in a large clinical trial, and all evidence of its antidepressant ...

With health care cuts looming, low-cost magnesium a welcome option for treating depression

June 27, 2017
Depression presents an enormous disease burden, with a reported 350 million people worldwide suffering from the disease, but traditional SSRI treatments carry a burden of their own - in dollars and side effects. New clinical ...

Minocycline, an antibiotic, improves behavior for children with fragile X syndrome

April 8, 2013
Minocycline, an older, broad-spectrum antibiotic in the tetracycline family, provides meaningful improvements as a therapeutic for children with fragile X syndrome, a study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has ...

Long-term pigmentation with minocycline in sclerotherapy

October 4, 2016
(HealthDay)—For patients undergoing sclerotherapy, oral minocycline may induce significant pigmentation, according to a case report published online Sept. 28 in the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology.

New treatment hope for menopausal depression

August 19, 2013
A trial involving middle-aged Australian women is investigating the use of a hormone treatment for symptoms of menopausal depression.

Recommended for you

Anti-stress compound reduces obesity and diabetes

December 13, 2017
For the first time, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich could prove that a stress protein found in muscle has a diabetes promoting effect. This finding could pave the way to a completely new treatment ...

Encouraging risk-taking in children may reduce the prevalence of childhood anxiety

December 13, 2017
A new international study suggests that parents who employ challenging parent behavioural (CPB) methods – active physical and verbal behaviours that encourage children to push their limits – are likely protecting their ...

Researchers link epigenetic aging to bipolar disorder

December 12, 2017
Bipolar disorder may involve accelerated epigenetic aging, which could explain why persons with the disorder are more likely to have - and die from - age-related diseases, according to researchers from The University of Texas ...

Researchers find common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101

December 12, 2017
In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of several hundred citizens over the age of 90. Researchers at the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San ...

Twitter can reveal our shared mood

December 11, 2017
In the largest study of its kind, researchers from the University of Bristol have analysed mood indicators in text from 800 million anonymous messages posted on Twitter. These tweets were found to reflect strong patterns ...

Infant brain responses predict reading speed in secondary school

December 11, 2017
A study conducted at the Department of Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Jyväskylä Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research (CIBR) has found that the brain responses of infants with an inherited ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.