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Can Tamoxifen Be Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder? Part 1

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Close to 6 million individuals in the U.S. have bipolar disorder. This disorder, characterized by severe mood shifts ranging from extreme mania to depression can create havoc in one’s life.

Manic episodes may last anywhere from 7 days to several months and the symptoms may range from acute restlessness, trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, distractibility and/or paranoia. While the depressive episodes are treatable, the manic phases of bipolar disorders are very difficult to treat. The few drug treatments available to date have to be taken for many weeks and often fail to work or worsen the depression. Even when the treatment works, many individuals rapidly develop resistance to the drugs. During the manic phase of the disorder, individuals may lose their jobs, spend a lot of money, and have poor martial relationships.

For some years now, scientists have been trying to discover treatments that work faster and resolve the bipolar phase without causing excess depression.

Tamoxifen is a widely used drug to treat postmenopausal women who have had breast cancer. It acts by blocking activity of the hormone estrogen, which stimulates breast cancer growth. Tamoxifen also inhibits a group of enzymes known as protein kinase C, and it was this activity that first fascinated scientists studying bipolar disorder.

Now, there is evidence that perhaps tamoxifen may be useful in the treatment of manic phase of bipolar disorder.

Add a Comment2 Comments

i agree with you that the drug company is too aggressive in promoting drugs for every type of medical disorder. Tamoxifen has only been investigated in a few patients and only time will tell if the drug actually works for bipolar disorder. The other problem is that some investigators act as paid consultants for the industry and there is always a conflict of interest. The current problem is that there are way too many individuals who have bipolar disorder and all the current day treatments remain unsatisfactory. SB

September 5, 2009 - 6:02am
EmpowHER Guest

I can tell you from experience that in my wife's case Tamoxifen did nothing to inhibit her manic episodes. She is a breast cancer suvivor and was taking tamoxifen when she went into very severe episodes. Researchers are too quick to claim certain drugs to be effective against certain illnesses based on a small percentage of results. There are too many differences and degrees between each patients behaviors and their physical chemitsry to claim a drug is cure all.

August 21, 2009 - 8:37am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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