July 31, 2005

Estradiol Doesn't Prevent Relapse

It has been hypothesized in the past that estrogen protects women from psychotic symptoms due to the fact that many women with such symptoms often have lower levels of estrogen. Estradiol is a hormone replacement of estrogen and has been used as adjunct treatment to prevent schizophrenia relapse, concurrently using antipsychotics. A new study shows that estradiol may not be effective in preventing relapse.

"Investigators in Germany tested under real-life conditions the expected therapeutic effect of estrogen as an adjunct treatment to antipsychotics for relapse prevention in women suffering from schizophrenia. They carried out a multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind, cross-over study based on an A-B-A-B (and/or B-A-B-A) design. N. Bergemann and colleagues, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, enlisted 'Forty-six hypoestrogenic women with schizophrenia hospitalized for the first time or repeatedly. Their average age was 37.9 years, and they had been suffering from schizophrenia for 8.4 years. During the drug treatment phases, they received a three-phase estrogen-gestagen combination drug (17beta estradiol+norethisterone acetate) in addition to an antipsychotic drug'" (Mental Health Law Weekly via LawRx.com).

There was no difference between the two groups in regard to their relapse events or their psychopathology. This study gives evidence that estradiol as an adjunctive treatment with antipsychotics is not superior to antipsychotics alone for relapse prevention.

Bergemann and colleagues published their study in Schizophrenia Research (Estrogen as an adjuvant therapy to antipsychotics does not prevent relapse in women suffering from schizophrenia: results of a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Schizophr Res, 2005;74(2-3):125-34).

The source of this article is Mental Health Law Weekly via LawRx.com.


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