Posted by Neuroscientist on October 28, 2010, at 18:50:56
In reply to mu receptors, endorphins, or something else?, posted by Cydnie on October 8, 2010, at 11:05:26
Hi, I saw your posting and thought I would reply due to having a great deal of experience with this myself. Although it is politically incorrect to say, opiates can be antidepressants and anxiolytics for even some of the most treatment-resistant patients in psychiatry. Sadly, response and remission rates for depression are pathetic even in optimal conditions.
First- A medication already exists, which although far from ideal, is very close to the description of a 'minimally addictive' opiate that is helpful for depression. The generic name of this compound is Buprenorphine. It is a u-opiate receptor partial agonist, and k-opiate receptor antagonist. These properties reduce the development of tolerance, dependence or overdose. For more information, its all over the internet, but if you'd like me to explain or clarify anything, I'll gladly do so. Other's I know use Tramadol (Ultram) as a weak opiate agonist which also has monoamine re-uptake properties (but you couldn't(or shouldn't) augment SSRIs with it)
Second- There are numerous studies in animals and in humans studying the relationship between opiates and psychiatric issues. In fact, there has been a study of treatment-resistant depressives who were treated with low doses of buprenorphine. Many had striking reactions, after countless other medications,therapy and ECT. There have also been studies showing genetic variants of the opiate receptors in the population (i.e SNPs: Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), which is especially evident in opiate addicts.
Third- Within a few more years, other opiate medications should be available as prescription for anxiety (These are mainly enkephalin re-uptake inhibitors, or k-antagonists)
I myself have been using Bup, and a few of my other friends who had treatment-resistant depression eventually tried it as well. I use relatively low doses, have had no development of tolerance, and minimal side-effects. I also take an SSRI, lots of Fish Oil, lots of exercise etc.
If you'd like any links to websites, or PDFs for journal articles let me know.