Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Helps Stop Suicidal Thoughts

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Helps Stop Suicidal Thoughts

The U.S. Military awards $3 million in funding to develop a new more instantaneous antidepressant delivery method.

Karen Baker
  • 22 august 2012

Image credit The Daily

The US Military has tasked scientists from the University of Indiana School of Medicine with creating a nasal spray that will curb thoughts of suicide, for use in the army and commercially. Awarded a $3 million dollar grant, researcher Dr. Michael Kubek and team have three years to determine whether the spray is safe and effective. The spray delivers a dose of naturally-occurring thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) to the brain via the nasal cavity. As Kubek told The Daily,

We’ve known since the 1970s that TRH has antidepressant effects, and it works quite rapidly. The bottom-line problem has been figuring out how to get it into the brain.

Currently TRH isn’t effective unless administered by a shot into the spinal cord, an option that for obvious reasons isn’t available to many in need. This new delivery method would provide an immediate stabilizer to soldiers and people in crisis while they wait for antidepressant pills to take effect.

More U.S. soliders have died at their own hands this year than at the hands of the Taliban according to a Pentagon report released in June, averaging one per day in 2012. The development of sprays and new delivery methods for antidepressants may prove critical to keeping thoughts of suicide from being consummated.

 Dr. Michael Kubeck 


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