Manic Phase Of Bipolar Disorder Benefits From Breast Cancer Medication

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The medication tamoxifen, best known as a treatment for breast cancer, dramatically reduces symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder more quickly than many standard medications for the mental illness, a new study shows. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) who conducted the study also explained how: Tamoxifen blocks an enzyme called protein kinase C (PKC) that regulates activities in brain cells. The enzyme is thought to be over-active during the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

By pointing to PKC as a target for new medications, the study raises the possibility of developing faster-acting treatments for the manic phase of the illness. Current medications for the manic phase generally take more than a week to begin working, and not everyone responds to them. Tamoxifen itself might not become a treatment of choice, though, because it also blocks estrogen

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