01 Aug Schizophrenia: Estrogen Patches May Improve Symptoms in Women
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mark Weiser, M.D.
Associate Director for Treatment Trials
The Stanley Medical Research Institute
Kensington, MD 20895
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Over the years many theories have been proposed explaining schizophrenia, and studies tested compounds based on these theories. Some showed improvement in symptoms, but these positive findings were often not later replicated, and the theory discarded. Over the past 15 years several studies performed in Australia by Dr. Jayshri Kulkarni (Molecular psychiatry. 2015;20(6):695) showed positive effects of estrogen patches on symptoms in women with schizophrenia.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: An independent replication study was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry. The researchers administered estrogen patches to pre-menopausal women with schizophrenia for 8 weeks, and reported improvements in positive symptoms (delusions and hallucinations) and negative symptoms (lack of initiative, poor social abilities). These effects were pronounced in women between the ages of 38-45.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This study is a breakthrough in schizophrenia research because it is an independent replication, emphasizes differences in schizophrenia between women and men, suggests further study of estrogen in schizophrenia, and encourages development of new compounds which bind estrogen receptors in the brain
Disclosures: The study was carried out in the Republic of Moldova, led by Dr. Mark Weiser from the Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University, Israel, and funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, a non-profit, charitable organization based in Washington DC.
Weiser M, Levi L, Zamora D, et al. Effect of Adjunctive Estradiol on Schizophrenia Among Women of Childbearing Age: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online July 31, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1842
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Last Updated on August 1, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD