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TB drug may help children with OCD


Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children creates extra challenges for the parents. The disorder creates unwanted thoughts and behaviors that compel sufferers to do something repeatedly. For parents, the search for a treatment comes with risks. While cognitive behavioral therapy is promising, usually this is combined with antidepressants which have side effects.

New use for an old drug

There is now a trial study for an old drug used safely to treat tuberculosis. Eric Storch, a St Petersburg pediatric psychologist and professor at the University of South Florida is conducting the study and looking for volunteers. They are testing the effectiveness of therapy and weekly doses of D-Cycloserine.

Drug improves effectiveness of therapy

D-Cycloserine interacts with receptors in a part of the brain called the amygdala. The drug makes it easier to learn not to be afraid of something. It boosts the power of the behavioral therapy to relieve many forms of anxiety. The drug has been used to treat children with post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and panic disorder. There appear to be no side effects

No side effects important for children

“For many families, they don’t want their kids to be on a medicine. Anti-depressants are proven to be safe, but there are side effects,” said Storch. “And then there’s the question of what do you do next, if the symptoms aren’t controlled. This has led to the use of many off-label mediations – anti-psychotics with some pretty severe side effects.”

An additional benefit is that this drug requires no build up. The drug works immediately. “It’s all about taking it at that moment of the therapy session,” Storch explained. “We’re looking at two agents and how one can effectively make the other work better.”

Source: Health and Fitness, Sarasota Herald Tribune


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