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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Promising Topline Results for Drug to Treat Concomitant Depression and Insomnia

Seltorexant, an investigational drug being developed by Johnson & Johnson, met all primary and secondary endpoints in a phase 3 trial of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with insomnia symptoms, the company has announced.

Depression and Insomnia

Seltorexant is an investigational potential first-in-class selective antagonist of the human orexin 2 receptor being studied for the adjunctive treatment of MDD with insomnia symptoms. Its selective mechanism of action means it has the potential to improve both mood and sleep symptoms associated with depression.

The phase 3 MDD3001 study was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of 20-mg oral seltorexant once daily with placebo, added to background selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor/serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSRI/SNRI) therapy, for improving depressive symptoms in adult and elderly patients with MDD with insomnia symptoms.

In the study, seltorexant led to "statistically significant and clinically meaningful" improvement in depressive symptoms based on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale total score, as well as improved sleep disturbance outcomes, in patients with moderate to severe depression and severe sleep disturbance who had a prior inadequate response to SSRI/SNRI antidepressants alone, the company announced in a statement.

Consistent with previous trials of seltorexant, the drug was safe and well-tolerated, with similar rates of common adverse events seen in both treatment groups.

"Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and shares a strong link with sleep disturbances. In MDD, insomnia symptoms exacerbate the risk of depressive relapse, increase healthcare costs, and impact quality of life, and it often goes undertreated despite being one of the most common residual symptoms," Andrew Krystal, MD, professor of psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco Weill Institute for Neurosciences, said in the statement.

"Seltorexant has the potential to fill a significant unmet need for new therapies to treat patients experiencing depression and insomnia and, most importantly, to improve outcomes and quality of life for these patients," Krystal added.

The topline results are being presented at the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) 2024 Annual Meeting, underway in Miami, Florida.

The positive phase 3 data follow earlier promising data reported in 2022, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

Note: This article originally appeared on Medscape

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