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Scratch-n-sniff anti-depressants

  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
  [vote for,

Small strips of slim card with attractive designs, comprising a customised mix of gel capsules containing aroma-generating chemicals and anti-depressant vapours; when scratched, the friction releases the mix ready for inhalation by the subject. Suitable aromas would be cut grass, fresh coffee or bread, woodsmoke, honeysuckle and so on.

This is not intended to replace long-term treatments but is meant for ad hoc use during SADs, the effects of bereavement etc.

Nelipot, Mar 22 2010

very similar to aromatherapy http://www.aromaweb...rticles/wharoma.asp
[xandram, Mar 22 2010]

(?) Radon as a lipid-soluble cause of CNS pathology http://healthandene...on_in_the_brain.htm
Note that radon's lipid solubility and polonium's lack of lipid solubility are factors here. [nineteenthly, Mar 23 2010]


       Not sure if SSRIs can be administered by mucosal absorbtion, and self-medication is always risky, but [+] for the intention.
8th of 7, Mar 22 2010

       I think the odour in itself might be more effective. I'm not sure i have a particularly strong belief in depression, depending on how it operates. I can certainly see that some people seem to conclude that things are worse than others in the same circumstances, but more generally i'm pretty keen on the idea of depressive realism. The question is then - probably something i should take up somewhere else, come to think of it.   

       In more detail, i wonder how volatile anti-depressants are, whether they could be carried up the nose like cocaine and so on.
nineteenthly, Mar 22 2010

       This sounds like aromatherapy to me. It seems like when I read about aromatherapy schemes it is always relaxing, uplifting, happiness making. Need it be so?
bungston, Mar 22 2010

       The first difficulty that I can see arising here is controlling your dosage. It'd be hard to deliver a precise amount with such an imprecise method as scratch-and-sniff, it'd be way to easy for a portion of the medication to not make it into the patient's nose because it is blown away or some other reason. To compensate you'd have to put some extra medication in there, but then you run the risk of over-dosing them. [+] For cleverness, though.
Postscript, Mar 22 2010

       [nineteenthly] There are a few systemic drugs (calcitonin,vasopressin, sumatriptan) which are given intranasally as aerosols, not vapors. Some others (crack cocaine, nicotine) can be administered as vapors at high temperature. Cocaine is given as a *solid* intranasally. None of this works for scratch & sniff, which would require a vapor (in fact, a volatile solid, though with clever packaging, a volatile liquid would do).   

       There are plenty of toxins that are gaseous at room temperature (e.g. hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide). However, as far as I know, the only drugs that are vapors at room temperature are anaesthetics (e.g. halothane, nitrous oxide) and effective only in quantities too large for scratch & sniff.   

       I don't think that's a coincidence: to be a gas at STP, molecular weight must be low -- and it's really hard to engineer selective receptor-affinity into a very small molecule. I suppose nitric oxide's sort of an exception, but it lacks antidepressant effect, as far as I can tell (in fact, apparently, NO-synthase *inhibitors* have antidepressant effect).   

       How about it: does anyone know of *any* drug that's a vapor at room temperature / sea-level pressure and is neither a toxin nor an anaesthetic?
mouseposture, Mar 22 2010

       hmm, new reading glasses: "Scratch'n'Sniff Peasants"
FlyingToaster, Mar 23 2010

       Thanks, [mouseposture], think i already knew that but my head's in a bit of a mess.   

       Most volatile components of plants share several characteristics. They tend to be sedative, circulatory stimulants, antimicrobial, stimulate leucocytosis and a few other things that slip my mind right now. Some of them have paradoxical effects.   

       To me, the idea of something not being a toxin is rather problematic because i've been trained to see every substance as essentially poisonous. I suppose there might be a few things which aren't, for instance most of the noble gases (but not radon) and nitrogen. If a drug with no side effects is a drug with no action, there's by definition no drug which is not toxic unless all it does is displace oxygen in the atmosphere without being absorbed significantly, in which case it'd be anaesthetic. Leaving that aside, though, i would say thymol would be an example. I really have to say that the idea of something not being toxic is doing my head in a bit. Water vapour?
nineteenthly, Mar 23 2010

       // i've been trained to see every substance as essentially poisonous. //   

       So, how long did you work at Porton Down ?   

       Nitrogen is one of the most dangerous gases, beacuse it is biologically almost inert, tasteless, colourless, odourless, miscible in all porportions with air, and thus has great potential for causing asphyxia.   

       But "toxin" implies a chemical rather than a physical method of action, so noble gases are excluded - Radon is harmful, but not toxic.
8th of 7, Mar 23 2010

       Nitrogen narcosis, i would argue, is a form of toxicity. Displacement of oxygen isn't.   

       Radon is not just radioactive. It's more lipid-soluble than nitrogen and can therefore interfere with nerve function at a fairly low concentration due to its solubility. It would cause narcosis at a concentration of something like ten percent. It also decays to polonium, which is also toxic as well as being radioactive, so it becomes another toxic substance. There are compounds which are indirectly toxic, usually because of enzyme action, but radon's toxicity is enhanced by its conversion to polonium. That change is on an atomic rather than a molecular scale but that's a fine distinction. However, it would mean it has both a physical and a pharmacological (toxicological?) half-life, which presumably actually lowers its direct toxicity.   

       If you consider toxicity to be purely chemical, what would you make of a compound which was relatively harmless in itself but whose molecules contained atoms of an unstable isotope which made it toxic when they broke down? To me, it seems that the distinction there would be highly abstruse.   

       See link, incidentally.
nineteenthly, Mar 23 2010


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