Brain estrogen drug an 'effective therapy' for schizophrenics

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Washington, Mar 31 (ANI): Raloxifene, a synthetic estrogen currently used to treat osteoporosis, is showing promise as an effective therapy for women who suffer from schizophrenia, it has been claimed.

Raloxifene, which influences neurotransmitter and neuronal systems in the brain, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal women with schizophrenia, with a test group experiencing a more rapid recovery from psychotic and other symptoms compared to control groups.

Research project leader and Director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) Professor Jayashri Kulkarni said women in the trial who were given 120mg a day of the unique selective estrogen receptor modulator had a significantly greater improvement in psychosis symptoms compared with those on placebos and lower doses.

"The results were very promising. Under daily treatment with this 'brain estrogen', the women in the study had improvement in their key psychosis symptoms and also experienced enhanced memory and higher learning capacity," Professor Kulkarni said.

"Many patients in this study had longstanding, persistent schizophrenia, so we are delighted that they experienced improvements in their mental well-being.We will continue to investigate the efficacy of Raloxifene which is a currently available treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women."

"Unlike estradiol, the standard estrogen found in the oral contraceptive pill or hormone replacement treatment, this type of estrogen did not have the side effects on breast, uterus and ovarian tissue that we worry about with other forms," Professor Kulkarni said.

While the findings were still tentative given the relatively small sample size, the research team is cautiously optimistic that ongoing trials will further confirm the positive therapeutic potential of the drug for postmenopausal women, and potentially for other cohorts.

The findings have been published in Psychoneuroendocrinology. (ANI)

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