ASCPT & FDA William B. Abrams Award Lecture

The William B. Abrams Lecture is a joint educational initiative of ASCPT and the FDA. The lecture series, supported in part by The Merck Company Foundation, was established in 1999 to honor William B. Abrams, MD, an ASCPT president from 1975 to 1976.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Abrams worked at the FDA as the first special government employee to establish the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Staff College and develop its curriculum. He also had a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry as a longtime employee of Merck Research Laboratories.

For more than 10 years, ASCPT and the FDA have invited experts from academia, industry, and government to discuss advances in clinical pharmacology and drug development. These scientists have excelled in their specialty areas and are some of the most highly esteemed clinical pharmacologists in the field. Their presentations convey novel information and perspectives on fundamental aspects of clinical pharmacology. Previous lectures have included speakers from the Mayo Clinic, University of California, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and the National Institutes of Health.

Please click here for a list of previous winners.

2024 ASCPT & FDA William B. Abrams Lecture

David Greenblatt

The 2024 ASCPT & FDA William Abrams Lecture Award recipient is David J. Greenblatt, M.D. Louis Lasagna Endowed Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Title: The Benzodiazepine Era
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 1:00- 2:30 pm ET
*Lecture will be presented virtually.

View the recording!

Anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia have long been recognized in the history of human health. Options for pharmacologic treatment were available through the first half of the 20th century, and included barbiturates, sedating antihistamines, and a number of barbiturate-like sedative agents. However disadvantages and drawbacks of treatment options were substantial, and included tolerance and dependence, drug interactions, and hazards of overdisage Beginning in 1960, the availability of benzodiazepine derivatives changed the medical landscape of potential treatments for anxiety and sleep disorders, with the initial promise of therapeutically effective pharmacologic treatment with fewer risks and disadvantages compared to older pharmacologic options. As contemporary medicine and clinical pharmacology evolved to the present, benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine agonist medications have become widely used in clinical practice, with the initial promise of efficacy and safety being partially realized, but with ongoing apparent controversy. This presentation reviews basic and clinical research milestones in the development of benzodiazepine agonist medications from 1960 to the present, with a focus on conclusions supported by credible scientific evidence, and on challenges faced by the clinical and regulatory communities.

Learning objectives:
After completion of the presentation, program participants should be be able to:

  • Understand the pharmacologic properties of benzodiazepine agonist medications in relation to other classes of drugs available to treat anxiety disorders and disorders of sleep
  • Apply these principles to the clinical treatment of these disorders, such that the probability of efficacy is maximized and risk is minimized.
Greenblatt DJ, Shader RI. Benzodiazepines in Clinical Practice. New York, Raven Press, 1974.

Shader RI, Greenblatt DJ. Use of Benzodiazepines in Anxiety Disorders. N Engl J Med. 1993; 328: 1398-1405.

Rickels K, Moeller HJ. Benzodiazepines in Anxiety Disorders: Reassessment of Usefulness and Safety. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2019; 20: 514-518.

If you have any questions about the ASCPT & FDA Abrams Award please contact Elise Laffman-Johnson.
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