Journal article Open Access
Griebel, Guy; Holsboer, Florian
The search for novel drugs for treating psychiatric disorders is driven by the growing medical need to improve on the effectiveness and side-effect profile of currently available therapies. Given the wealth of preclinical data supporting the role of neuropeptides in modulating behaviour, pharmaceutical companies have been attempting to target neuropeptide receptors for over two decades. However, clinical studies with synthetic neuropeptide ligands have been unable to confirm the promise predicted by studies in animal models. Here, we analyse preclinical and clinical results for neuropeptide receptor ligands that have been studied in clinical trials for psychiatric diseases, including agents that target the receptors for tachykinins, corticotropin-releasing factor, vasopressin and neurotensin, and suggest new ways to exploit the full potential of these candidate drugs.