Previous animal studies as well as pilot trials in humans have suggested that tamoxifen might be effective in treating bipolar-related mania.
For the new study, 66 men and women with bipolar disorder and currently in a manic state, or mixed states that included mania, were randomly assigned to take 40 to 80 milligrams of tamoxifen a day or a placebo for up to three weeks.
Participants were also given up to 5 milligrams a day of the sedative lorazepam as needed.
Fifty patients completed the study.
At the end of three weeks, participants taking tamoxifen had significantly lower scores on tests used to measure the severity of mania, with 48 percent of them citing a reduction of at least half in their mania scores.
Those in the placebo group had slightly increased mania scores, and only 5 percent experienced a reduction of at least half in their mania scores.
Twenty-eight percent of those in the tamoxifen group reached the cut-off scores for remission from mania, compared to none in the placebo group, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on bipolar disorder.
SOURCES: Jane Ripperger-Suhler, M.D., assistant professor, psychiatry and behavioral science, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and psychiatrist, Scott & White Mental Health Center, Temple; Ma-Li Wong, M.D., professor of psychiatry and vice chair for translational research, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; March 2008, Archives of General Psychi
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