Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is developed after an individual goes through a traumatic event such as serious injury, road accident, or sexual assault. The disorder is common in military soldiers who have very high chances of traumatic events due to stress of combat. Other contributing factors include history of drug abuse, mental illness, depression, and high stress in daily life. The symptoms of PTSD are grouped in three main categories as below:
- Symptoms for intrusive memories- flashback of traumatic event and upsetting dreams about the event
- Symptoms of avoidance- Avoidance of discussions about traumatic events, trouble in concentrating, depression
- Symptoms of emotional arousal- irritability, anger, guilt, self-distractive behavior, hyper vigilance
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Being a psychological disorder, psychotherapy and counseling are the first line of treatments. Drugs prescribed along with the treatment include Zoloft (sertraline HCl) by Pfizer, Paxil (paroxetine) by GlaxoSmithKline, Elavil (amitriptyline) by AstraZeneca. Other off-label drugs include Risperdal(risperidone), Zyprexa (olanzapine), and Seroquel (quetiapine).
Rising incidences of personal violence and road accidents in developing countries is one of the driving forces for the market, but due to lower awareness and underdeveloped medical sector, the market growth is lower. According to an article published in The Washington Post in 2013, under developed countries accounted for 50% of the global road traffic accidents.
These incidences will lead to development of PTSD among patients. Market opportunities also lie in the rehabilitation of injured military personnel where majority of the traumatic patients complain symptoms for intrusive memories and emotional arousal. According to an article published in Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2010, around 17% of Iraq war veterans suffered with PTSD. Similar statistics suggest a large number of was veterans suffer from PTSD, but do not receive medical treatment.
In spite of these drivers, the market growth has suffered from the serious side effects of drugs leading to several lawsuits and bad publicity. Serious side effects for Zoloft and Paxil in pregnant women were miscarriage, septal heart defects, cranial defect, delayed development and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN). An article published in The New York Times in 2012, GSK agreed to pay fine of USD 3 million for promoting its antidepressants which include Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Avandia.