MISSOULA – A new study looking at a possible new treatment for military-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is starting up in Missoula.

Providence St. Patrick Hospital, the University of Montana and Tonix Pharmaceuticals announced the opening of a clinical study site on Monday which could involve as many as 550 Montana veterans.

The drug Tonmya is said to be a breakthrough therapy for PTSD, so much so, that the US Food and Drug Administration is giving the go-ahead to accelerate and develop the studies on this drug. Tonmya is believed to target parts of the brain which are associated with disturbed sleep and nightmares.

Increasing sleep quality for people who have PTSD may ease the body’s ability to recover from severe trauma, according to Tonix Pharmaceuticals.

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Eligible veterans are those who have experienced one or more traumatic events during military service since 2001 and are experiencing ongoing symptoms like flashback, irritability, and agitation.

Matt Kuntz with NAMI Montana believes remission to PTSD is something to look forward to and participates are helping more than themselves.

“You’re not just helping yourself, you’re helping the guy and the gal behind you that is still struggling,” Kuntz said. “My Grandfather had PTSD from WWII and my step-brother had PTSD from Iraq. This is a chance to participate in something that might change the trajectory of how we treat PTSD over the long term.”

Nearly 40 locations across the US will be participating in this study. Montana veterans Participants do not need a previous diagnosis of PTSD to join the study. Contact Providence St. Patrick Hospital at (406) 243-4017 for more information on eligibility.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) helped bring the study to Missoula to give Montana veterans and reservists a chance to participate in the trial of this investigational new treatment and to create a PTSD clinical research center in Montana.

“This trial offers hope in addressing an urgent health crisis facing Montana’s veterans,” Sen. Tester said. “When America’s finest return from deployment, they often face unseen wounds of war. It’s my sincere hope that through this trial we can identify a safe and effective treatment for those who served this nation.”

To participate in the trial, Montana veterans can visit www.thehonorstudy.com to see if they qualify and to enroll. If veterans qualify and choose to participate, they will receive study-related care at no cost.

Veterans also will receive compensation for time and travel to attend study visits. Health insurance is not required to participate in the study, and a Certificate of Confidentiality is provided to participants to protect their privacy.

-Kent Luetzen reporting for MTN News