impact levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine — brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that help regulate mood, emotion, and sometimes pain.
Most drugs for
also affect neurotransmitters, but different ones and in different ways.
One of these is glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that binds to nerve cells in order to help messages travel from one cell to the next.
NMDA receptor antagonists
or GABA. An important role of
GABA is to block messages between nerve cells.
The other neurotransmitter affected by NMDA receptor antagonists is
Because these neurotransmitters have opposite actions, the brain typically functions best when they are in balance.
NMDA receptor antagonists help maintain this balance.
These drugs tend to
work more quickly
than conventional antidepressants to
They may also be more effective for hard-to-treat depression and for relieving thoughts of self-harm.