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Tamoxifen May Help Reduce Mania in Bipolar Disorder

Effects seen in as little as five days

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Tamoxifen reduces mania in patients with bipolar disorder in as little as five days, researchers report in the September issue of Bipolar Disorders.

Carlos A. Zarate, Jr., M.D., and colleagues from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., randomly assigned 16 subjects with bipolar disorder to placebo or tamoxifen (20-140 milligrams per day) for three weeks. The Young Mania Rating Scale was used to assess the patients. Tamoxifen inhibits protein kinase C (PKC), which previous data have suggested would reduce mania, and crosses the blood-brain barrier, the authors note.

The researchers found that tamoxifen improved mania after as little as five days, with a response rate of 63 percent for tamoxifen and 13 percent for placebo at the end of the trial.

"In conclusion, the study findings support our hypothesis that PKC inhibition would bring about antimanic effects in patients with bipolar disorder," Zarate and colleagues write. "The findings of this pilot study suggest that PKC inhibition might be relevant to the antimanic effects of lithium and valproate."

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