Improved Treatment for Toxic Nerve Agent

In efforts to improve the warfighter’s recovery from exposures to the nerve agent Soman (GD), DTRA CB/JSTO-funded work at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) found a drug candidate that reduces seizure duration, body weight loss, motor and cognitive deficits, and brain damage compared to standard therapy alone.

Caramiphen, an anticholinergic used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, has antiglutamatergic properties via interactions at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and anticonvulsant effects through the facilitation of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition in the basolateral amygdala part of the brain.

In the Neurotoxicology and Teratology journal article, “Caramiphen edisylate as adjunct to standard therapy attenuates soman-induced seizures and cognitive deficits in rats,” the researchers managed by DTRA CB’s Dr. Allen Duplantier found that caramiphen edisylate administered to rats 30 minutes after seizure onset from Soman exposure, worked effectively as an adjunct treatment to standard therapy (atropine sulfate, oxime (HI-6), and diazepam) against Soman, an extremely toxic nerve agent that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme.

These findings suggest that drug therapies with a combination of anticholinergic, NMDA antagonistic, and GABA enhancing effects might improve the long-term outcome following exposure to a seizure-inducing dose of Soman when added to the post nerve agent exposure regimen used on the battlefield.

Story by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department
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