Tamoxifen May Help Treat Bipolar Mania
Study Shows Breast Cancer Drug Treats Manic Phase of Bipolar Disorder
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Better Treatments Needed for Manic Phase of Bipolar Disorder
About 6 million adults in the U.S. have bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by dramatic mood shifts from manic 'highs' to depressed 'lows.' Manic episodes can last from at least one week to months, and symptoms can include extreme restlessness, sleeplessness, irritability, and distractibility.
It is during this manic phase that bipolar patients most often engage in the risky, out-of-control, pleasure-seeking behaviors.
Yildiz tells WebMD that better treatments for the manic phase of bipolar disorder are badly needed, because current treatments typically take many weeks to work.
"During this time, people can lose their marriages, their jobs, or all their money," she says. "Finding quicker treatments would be very meaningful."
But while tamoxifen is effective, its estrogen-inhibiting action makes it problematic for the long-term treatment of bipolar patients, Manji says.
He adds that a drug that directly targets PKC activity but doesn't block estrogen receptors could represent a big step forward in the treatment of bipolar disorder and possibly other mental illnesses like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even alcoholism.
Researchers are working to find such treatments and to target the exact PKC enzymes associated with mania.
"There are about 12 different subtypes of protein kinase C, and we think that two of those are important for the treatment of mania," he says. "If we come up with a treatment that just targets these two, it is likely to be much more effective with fewer side effects."