Pilot-controlled trial of D-cycloserine for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Dec;5(4):301-7. doi: 10.1017/S1461145702003061.


Dysfunction of glutamatergic neurotransmission may be relevant to the pathogenesis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that PTSD symptoms could be alleviated following enhancement of neurotransmission mediated at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptors. Eleven patients with chronic PTSD participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial with 50 mg/d D-cycloserine which acts as a partial agonist at the glycine regulatory site on the NMDA receptor. D-cycloserine treatment resulted in significant improvements in numbing, avoidance, and anxiety symptoms; however, similar effects were also observed during placebo treatment. In addition, D-cycloserine treatment resulted in a significant (p=0.03), reduction in the perseverative error scores as measured by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. This pilot study is the first to assess the efficacy of a NMDA receptor modulator for PTSD treatment and its results warrant further, larger-scale investigation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cycloserine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Receptors, Glycine / agonists
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology


  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Cycloserine