Toward Rapid-Acting Treatments for OCD

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Meet the Scientist - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Increasing evidence indicates that glutamate plays a role in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms. Ketamine, which acts on brain glutamate receptors, has shown remarkable therapeutic effects in OCD; however, patients reported side effects including transient dissociation. The glutamate receptor modulator rapastinel may reduce symptoms of OCD without the dissociative side effects reported by patients treated with ketamine.

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Presented by 
Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.
Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.
Stanford University, School of Medicine

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Director, Translational OCD Research Program

2009, 2014 Young Investigator Grantee

Dr. Rodriguez utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to finding treatment for patients suffering from compulsive behaviors such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and hoarding disorder. Her numerous studies aim to gain understanding of these behaviors at multiple levels of analysis (from molecule to behavior).

On the OCD front, Dr. Rodriguez is focusing on the ability of ketamine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, to quickly and effectively quell obsessive thoughts. She is using a variety of imaging techniques to observe the effects of ketamine on neurotransmitter systems and brain activity in human patients, as well as investigating the benefits of combining ketamine administration with therapy. She is also investigating the use of intranasal drug delivery for fast-acting treatments.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.