Tonix PharmaTonix Pharmaceuticals (OTCBB: TNXP) is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing new pharmaceutical products for central nervous system conditions that may be safer and more effective than currently available treatments. The Company’s lead programs are potential new treatments for fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are chronic CNS syndromes. In each of these programs, TONIX seeks to use new doses and formulations of cyclobenzaprine in new treatment regimens.

Crystal Gammon of Reuters Health wrote an article about a recent study covering the decline of anti-anxiety drug use among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the last decade. The study looked at data from more than 498,000 patients in the Veterans Affairs health care system between 1999 and 2009; researchers found decreases in the frequency, duration and doses of benzodiazepines given to veterans with PTSD.

Given the addictive nature of benzodiazepines, researchers say that this trend is encouraging.

As Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the National Center for PTSD and a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth (and co-author of the study), commented, “one of our concerns is that it’s very, very difficult to get patients off benzodiazepines.” When those patients have PTSD, which has a strong co-occurrence with substance abuse disorders, it is even more difficult. 

“We believe a lot of benzodiazepines are being prescribed for problems with sleep, which is also a symptom of depression,” Friedman continued. “If we treat the depression, perhaps the insomnia will also go away.”

Researchers are increasingly recognizing the overlap between PTSD, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Tonix Pharmaceuticals is researching another overlap, between PTSD and fibromyalgia, a central nervous system condition that is characterized by diffuse musculoskeletal pain, increased pain sensitivity, fatigue and disturbed sleep.

A number of similarities have been noted between fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) and PTSD. For example, in a 2002 survey of FM patients, 57% of the sample had symptoms associated with PTSD (Cohen, Neumann et al.). 

Both of Tonix’s lead products to treat PSTD and FM are formulations of cyclobenzaprine, a widely prescribed muscle relaxant with an established safety profile. Several large clinical studies have confirmed cyclobenzaprine’s safety and tolerability. Cyclobenzaprine is not a controlled substance and is not considered to be addictive, which makes it highly attractive for use in PTSD patients. Read more about cyclobenzaprine

The research team noted that treating veterans with PTSD will become even more important in coming years, given the number of recent and ongoing U.S. military conflicts. The number of veterans with PTSD treated in the Veterans Affairs health care system rose nearly 200 percent between 1999 and 2009. Read the full article on Reuters

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