Humans are wired to have a fear response to certain things, but in some cases that fear response can go haywire, and the result is an individual afflicted with PTSD. Many researchers have spent many years searching for a suitable treatment that is both effective and easily acquired. According to a new study, the solution may be a common antibiotic called doxycycline, which has been shown to diminish fear response in volunteers.
Doxycycline is sold under brand names Doxy, Doryx, Monodox, and others, and is classified as a tetracycline. Though commonly prescribed to treat things like STDs and UTIs, this antibiotic could also be used to prevent or treat PTSD, according to a study recently published in Molecular Psychiatry. The study tested the antibiotics on 76 healthy volunteers.
In order to see whether the antibiotic could help prevent the development of PTSD, some of the volunteers (that is, the ones who weren’t given a placebo) were dosed with doxycycline and then trained to associate the appearance of a certain color with an electric shock. This test was repeated a week later, only a loud noise was played when the color was presented rather than a shock.
Researchers monitored the level of fear exhibited by the volunteers during this, and found that those who were given the antibiotic had a 60-percent lower fear response than others who were given the placebo. Though the volunteers hadn’t forgotten the feeling of pain or the association with the color, their fear response at the sight of the color was more than cut in half. The drug appears to work by inhibiting the creation of fear memories in the victims’ brains.