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Tamoxifen Shows Effectiveness in Bipolar Disorder
Mar 3, 2008

Patients using protein kinase C inhibitor had significant mania improvements compared to those on placebo

MONDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- The use of tamoxifen in patients with bipolar disorder results in antimanic effects in line with those reported for lithium carbonate and divalproex, according to research published in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Aysegul Yildiz, M.D., of the Dokuz Eylul University Medical School in Izmir, Turkey, and colleagues analyzed data from 66 patients who were randomized to tamoxifen or placebo for up to three weeks, along with up to 5 milligrams of lorazepam daily if needed. Tamoxifen is an inhibitor of protein kinase C, which is suspected to play a role in bipolar disorder.

The treated group showed improvements on the Young Mania Rating Scale, the main outcome measure (5.84 point per week decrease, versus 1.50 point per week increase with placebo) and the Clinical Global Impressions - Mania (0.73 point per week decrease, versus 0.10 point per week increase with placebo). The drug was also well-tolerated, and the treated group used less lorazepam.

"An important point raised by Yildiz et al is that symptomatic improvement is not equivalent to functional improvement, as has been previously described in the literature; therefore, this and other similar three-week studies may be able to detect symptom amelioration but cannot adequately address the value of new antimanic treatments in achieving functional recovery -- the outcome that really matters to patients," writes Mauricio Tohen, M.D., of Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis, in an accompanying editorial.

Tohen is an employee and stockholder of Eli Lilly and Company.

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