A new a method for speeding up the treatment process for depression has been found, according to a study by the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine published Tuesday.

The study, which was published in Molecular Psychiatry, revealed that by inhibiting an enzyme in mice, symptoms of depression appeared to diminish more quickly compared to that of antidepressants. The enzyme Glyoxalase 1, or GLO1, helps to remove byproduct that is created when cells generate energy. While the byproduct can “influence various behaviors,” inhibiting the GLO1 enzyme can actually encourage positive activity of particular neurons.

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“There are currently no approved fast-acting antidepressants, so finding something like this is unusual,” Stephanie Dulawa, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, said in a release. 

 In each of the several tests, inhibiting the enzyme in the mice reduced symptoms of depression in just five days. It can take about two weeks for drugs like Prozac to have the same effect on patients, the study concluded.

“Depression affects at least one in six of us at some point in our lifetime, and better treatments are urgently needed,” Abraham Palmer, PhD, professor of psychiatry and vice chair for basic research at the UCSD School of Medicine and senior author of the study said in the release. “A better understanding of the molecular and cellular underpinnings of depression will help us find new ways to inhibit or counteract its onset and severity.”

Human trials for the study have not been performed; the study results were determined on the mice alone. However, the team has developed a patent for the work and have already begun to work with medicinal chemists at the school to create drugs that specifically target the GLO1 enzyme.

While additional treatments outside of pharmaceuticals can also assist in alleviating symptoms of depression, the use of antidepressants can significantly impact the mental health of a sufferer, the study found.