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The effects of inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) by JNJ-42165279 in social anxiety disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study.


JNJ-42165279 is a selective inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme responsible for the degradation of fatty acid amides (FAA) including anandamide (AEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and N-oleoylethanolamide (OEA). We assessed the efficacy, safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of treatment with JNJ-42165279 in subjects with social anxiety disorder (SAD). This was a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study randomizing subjects to 12 weeks of treatment with either JNJ-42165279 (25 mg daily) or placebo (PBO). The primary endpoint was the change in the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) total score from baseline to end of study. Secondary endpoints included the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS17), and the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I). Samples were collected for plasma concentration of AEA, PEA, OEA, and JNJ-42165279. A total of 149 subjects were enrolled with a mean baseline LSAS total score of 102.6 (SD 16.84). The mean change from baseline (SD) in LSAS total score at week 12 was numerically greater for JNJ-42165279: -29.4 (27.47) compared to PBO: -22.4 (23.57) but not significant. The percentage of subjects with ≥30% improvement from baseline in the LSAS total score was significantly higher for JNJ-42165279 (42.4%) compared to PBO (23.6%) (p value = 0.04). The percentage of subjects with a CGI-I score of much or very much improved was also significantly higher for JNJ-42165279 (44.1%) than for PBO (23.6%) (p value = 0.02). The drug was well tolerated. JNJ-42165279 appears to elicit an anxiolytic effect in subjects with SAD although trough concentrations with 25 mg once daily appeared to be insufficient to completely inhibit FAAH activity which may have led to suboptimal efficacy. Identifier: NCT02432703.

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