Development of Medications for Anxiety
The study of new medication treatments in humans is a very rigorously controlled research area. These studies have to show that a particular medication is safe and effective in the treatment of a particular disorder. No trial involving human subjects is conducted without prior extensive testing in animals.
Medication studies in humans are conducted in phases. First, tests are conducted in a small group of volunteers to explore the safety of the drug. Next, larger studies are conducted to further learn about possible side effects of the medication, and whether the medication is effective in the treatment of a particular disorder, as compared to another medication used for that disorder, and to an inactive pill called placebo (sometimes called a "sugar pill").
In order for a new medication to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use in a particular disorder, a number of these trials have to be conducted and the medication must be more effective than the placebo pill.