Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, and a leading cause of disability which begins during adolescence age and remains as a lifelong illness. It is usually characterized by intrusive and reoccurring thoughts along with repetitive behaviors. It is usually under-diagnosed and undertreated due to several factors such as patients hiding symptoms, fear of change, difficulties with diagnosis and affordability of treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychotherapy, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), cingulotomy and behavioral family therapy are used for treating this disorder. These therapies help manage symptoms and allow the patients to function normally in their daily activities.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft); Tri-cyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as clomipramine (Anafranil); and Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Venlafaxine (Effexor) are approved for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Companies are focusing on new targets such as α3β4 nicotinic receptor antagonist, Orexin-1 receptor (OX1R), Metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) and Phosphodiesterase7 (PDE7) receptor for treating OCD.

C4X Discovery Ltd. is developing Orexin-1 that targets Orexin-1 Receptor (OX1R), while Addex Therapeutics Ltd., Savant HWP, and Omeros Corporation are developing drugs that act as metabotropic glutamate receptor activator, α3β4 nicotinic receptor antagonist, and Phosphodiesterase7 (PDE7) receptor inhibitor respectively. Approximately 82 active clinical studies are going on, with one clinical study reporting the improvement in symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by using combination of D-cycloserine and cognitive behavioral therapy. Pharmaceutical companies and researchers are working towards development of drugs with faster onset of action, improved safety profile and ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), thus aiming to provide treatment regimens that may have potential to overcome the limitations of existing drugs.

 Insight by:
Diksha Wadhwa
Associate Analyst