A drug has been shown to be highly effective in reducing symptoms of depression without having a negative effect on libido, according to research. Agomelatine acts on the hormone melatonin, which is thought to play a part in mood disorders. It has also been found to cause fewer of the other side effects associated with many conventional drugs, including weight gain.
No effects: The new drug Agomelatine does not affect the patient's libido
Its therapeutic effects can kick in earlier too – within the first week in some cases – compared with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which can take weeks to work. Depression affects about one in ten adults at some point, and many sufferers are prescribed antidepressants. The drugs change the levels of a group of brain chemicals, including serotonin and norepinephrine. Making more of these chemicals available can improve mood and emotion, although how and why is not fully understood.
Common illness: Depression affects one in ten adults at some point in their lives
However, common side effects of SSRIs include low sex drive or erectile dysfunction. There is increasing evidence that the body’s circadian rhythm system, which governs the release of hormones, is also heavily involved in depression. This led to the development of agomelatine. It mimics the activity of melatonin, helping to regulate the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is produced at night and is involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Ken Checinski says: ‘This is an important addition to the range of drug treatments for depressive disorder and should be considered where side effects with SSRIs have been a problem for the patient.’
Daily Mail UK