D-Cycloserine in Neuropsychiatric Diseases: A Systematic Review

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016 Apr 20;19(4):pyv102. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyv102. Print 2016 Apr.


D-Cycloserine, known from tuberculosis therapy, has been widely introduced to neuropsychiatric studies, since its central active mechanism as a partial NMDA-agonist has been found. In this review, we evaluate its therapeutic potential in neuropsychological disorders and discuss its pitfalls in terms of dosing and application frequency as well as its safety in low-dose therapy. Therefore, we identified 91 clinical trials by performing a Medline search. We demonstrate in part preliminary but increasing evidence that D-cycloserine may be effective in various psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, addiction, eating disorders, major depression, and autism as well as in neurological diseases, including dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and spinocerebellar degeneration. D-Cycloserine in low-dose therapy is safe, but there is still a need for new drugs with higher specificity to the different N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor subunits.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cycloserine / adverse effects
  • Cycloserine / pharmacology
  • Cycloserine / therapeutic use*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / adverse effects
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / agonists*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Cycloserine