Struggles of Veterans with PTSD Shines Light on Need for Better Treatment

TONIX Pharmaceuticals working on safe and effective treatment plan to include cyclobenzaprine.

WASHINGTON, CT and NEW YORK, NY (I-Newswire) February 7, 2013 - A report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in October 2012 revealed that 30 percent of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated at VA hospitals since 9/11 have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a 2010 study published by the American Journal for Public Health, troops who have been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan are more than three times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for PTSD and major depression. PTSD is known to affect as much as 6.8 percent of Americans (77 million adults) at some point during their lives, and war veterans are among the hardest-hit groups.

Complicating and inflating the cost of treatment of those with PTSD is painkiller abuse and the addiction it so often brings with it. In fact, the cost of health care for veterans with PTSD is 3.5 times higher on average than for those without the disorder.

Although the events that trigger it can vary, PTSD tends to create similar symptoms including widespread pain and sleep disturbances such as nightmares, nighttime anxiety attacks, and difficulty falling or staying asleep. There are two existing FDA-approved products for PTSD, but their use can be limited by side effects. Other anti-anxiety and sleep medicines are sometimes helpful, but prescription sleep medicines are not ideal due to their short-term efficacy and safety concerns. There is clearly an unmet need for a non-habit forming, safe, pharmaceutical option.

TONIX Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., a NYC-based publicly traded company, is working on a treatment for PTSD involving cyclobenzaprine, a compound that is FDA approved as a muscle relaxant but is sometimes prescribed by physicians as a slow-acting sleep aid in fibromyalgia-a condition whose symptoms overlap significantly with PTSD. The company is studying whether or not very low-dose cyclobenzaprine, administered as an under-the-tongue tablet at bedtime, can alleviate the pain and mood symptoms experienced by PTSD patients as well as provide a more restful, quality sleep. TONIX plans to conduct a phase 2 proof-of-concept study in PTSD in 2013.

A safe and effective treatment that promotes restful sleep could hold the potential to improve the lives of millions of people affected by PTSD.

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February 7, 2013

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