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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1995 Sep;16(9):309-16.

Na+ channels as targets for neuroprotective drugs.

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Department of Neurological and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division, Warner-Lambert, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Drugs that block voltage-dependent Na+ channels are well known as local anaesthetics, antiarrhythmics and anticonvulsants. Recent studies show that these compounds also provide a powerful mechanism of cytoprotection in animal models of cerebral ischaemia, hypoxia or head trauma. In this article Charles Taylor and Brian Meldrum review evidence indicating that Na+ channel modulators are neuroprotective and describe recent ideas for the molecular sites of action of voltage-dependent Na+ channel blockers. Clinical trials with several compounds are now in progress for stroke and traumatic head injury, and the therapeutic potential for this group of compounds is discussed.

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