A recent clinical trial has shown positive results for a potential new anxiety medication called BHV-0223. Although the study was not conclusive, researchers believe there is enough evidence to test the drug further.
The study was conducted by the Biohaven Pharma company. It took place at the Yale University School of Medicine and used a form of riluzole, the rights to which are exclusive to Biohaven when it comes to neuropsychiatric disorders. This is alongside Biohaven’s exclusive rights to use Zydis in riluzole-related products. Zydis can be used to orally dissolve a tablet, as BHV-0223 is administered under the tongue.
There were 21 participants in the study, which is a relatively small sample. All the participants had been diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder. They were asked to participate in a speech task that would provoke anxiety. Some were given BHV-0223, and some were given a placebo, which is a tablet with no medical effects. The study was double-blind, which meant that neither participants nor researchers knew which tablets were BHV-0223 and which were placebos.
Overall, BHV-0223 was found to reduce anxiety by 8.3 points in comparison to the placebo. On a different scale, it had a 14.4-point advantage. This isn’t enough to be considered statistically significant, but it is a positive indicator for further research. Future trials would need a larger sample size. The drug also did not create major side effects and appeared safe for humans to use.
BHV-0223 uses something called glutamate modulating to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Biohaven has used a similar technique to treat Alzheimer’s, OCD and spinocerebellar ataxia using BHV-4157. This is also known as troriluzole. There are also plans to test similar drugs.
Clinical trials are an important part of the development of new medicines. If you wish to participate in paid research studies in the United Kingdom, http://www.trials4us.co.uk/ is one possible site.
Social anxiety disorder is considered a DSM-5 condition. The hope is that the trials can be expanded to also treat generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). About 6.8 million people suffer from this condition in the US alone. Many current treatments are only partially effective or cause side effects such as sedation. Biohaven is also planning to file an application with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to use BHV-0223 as a treatment for ALS.