A Neuroanatomic and Pathophysiologic Framework for Novel Pharmacological Approaches to the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Drugs. 2024 Feb;84(2):149-164. doi: 10.1007/s40265-023-01983-5. Epub 2024 Feb 28.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating disorder inflicting high degrees of symptomatic and socioeconomic burdens. The development of PTSD results from a cascade of events with contributions from multiple processes and the underlying pathophysiology is complex, involving neurotransmitters, neurocircuitry, and neuroanatomical pathways. Presently, only two medications are US FDA-approved for the treatment of PTSD, both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, the complex underlying pathophysiology suggests a number of alternative pathways and mechanisms that may be targets for potential drug development. Indeed, investigations and drug development are proceeding in a number of these alternative, non-serotonergic pathways in an effort to improve the management of PTSD. In this manuscript, the authors introduce novel and emerging treatments for PTSD, including drugs in various stages of development and clinical testing (BI 1358894, BNC-210, PRAX-114, JZP-150, LU AG06466, NYV-783, PH-94B, SRX246, TNX-102), established agents and known compounds being investigated for their utility in PTSD (brexpiprazole, cannabidiol, doxasoin, ganaxolone, intranasal neuropeptide Y, intranasal oxytocin, tianeptine oxalate, verucerfont), and emerging psychedelic interventions (ketamine, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy), with an aim to examine and integrate these agents into the underlying pathophysiological frameworks of trauma-related disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Ketamine* / therapeutic use
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / drug therapy


  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
  • Ketamine