Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health
Glecaprevir/Pibrentasvir for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posted September 26, 2023
Dr. Bradley V. Watts, M.D., White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop as a result of exposure to a traumatic situation. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of guilt or blame and must persist for 1 month to receive a diagnosis.1 Symptoms typically resolve within 6 months but can develop into a chronic condition. Veterans, particularly those who have been deployed, demonstrate an increased risk of developing PTSD compared to civilians.2 Current treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy, medications, or both. However, psychotherapy is not feasible or accessible for all patients, and medication effectiveness can be limited and cause unwanted side effects.
With a fiscal year 2021 Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health Research Program Clinical Trial Award – Research Level 2, Dr. Bradley Watts and his team are repurposing Mavyret (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir), a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral used to treat hepatitis C viral (HCV) infections, as a PTSD therapeutic in the absence of HCV. Previously, through evaluation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinical data, Dr. Watts and his team identified that Mavyret, compared to any other medication prescribed, improved PTSD symptoms during HCV treatment. During the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the group will determine whether Mavyret is an effective, tolerable treatment for PTSD. Unlike current FDA-approved PTSD drugs, Mavyret demonstrates a lower side-effect profile, and it is not known to act directly on the brain. The study is anticipating participant enrollment beginning in 2023. If successful, the results of the trial will identify a novel use for an FDA-approved drug and could lead to the development of a new class of PTSD therapeutics.
1National Institute of Mental Health. 2022. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
2U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.) How Common is PTSD in Veterans?
Last updated Tuesday, September 26, 2023