Tamoxifen may help ease bipolar mania

Breast cancer drug tamoxifen may help ease mania in patients with bipolar disorder, according to Turkish research.

The three-week trial of 50 patients with bipolar disease, experiencing symptoms of mania, assigned 29 to take 40-80mg tamoxifen daily and the rest placebo for three weeks. They were given 5mg lorazepam daily to control symptoms.

Patients given tamoxifen had less severe mania at the trial's end, while those given placebo had increased mania scores.

Specifically, 48 per cent of patients taking tamoxifen had mania scores reduced by at least half, compared with 5 per cent in the placebo group.

Tamoxifen inhibits protein kinase C enzymes, which are associated with bipolar disorder, which may explain the findings.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008; 65: 255-63

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