Raloxifene, a medication usually prescribed for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, can be equally effective as an adjunct therapy for overcoming the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia in them, according to a recent study published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
In order to determine the effectiveness of raloxifene compared to placebo, the researchers identified around five double-blind, randomized controlled trials across numerous Chinese and English language databases. These trials included around 240 patients with an average age of 58.2 years. Unlike the earlier studies, the meta-analysis displayed homogenous results related to the positive outcomes of raloxifene.
Usually, the psychotic symptoms are caused in women due to the reduction in primary female sex hormone called estrogen. Since the prolonged augmentation of estrogen augmentation increases the risks of breast and uterine tissue damage, it often becomes difficult to treat such symptoms. The advantage of raloxifene, a second-generation selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), is that it does not stimulate those hormones. Additionally, raloxifene can be used by males and females alike, as it does not cause the development of feminine qualities, such as development of breasts in males.
Estrogen and mood fluctuations
Estrogen is a female sex or gonadal hormone responsible for the development of female characteristics in an individual, such as wider pelvic region, breasts and permanent hair on the head. This hormone, produced chiefly in the ovaries of females, influences several key areas of the brain associated with cognition, behavior and mood. The typical mood swings that women undergo during their puberty, pregnancy, postpartum, and pre and post menopause arise because of the fluctuation in the level of this hormone.
A large number of studies has indicated the role of estrogen in the pathogenies and treatment of a neuropsychiatric disorder like schizophrenia. Many mental disorders are also linked with this hormone. A 2015 study focused on the role of estrogen in developing schizophrenia in females, especially those above 40 going through menopause that decimates sex hormones. Unlike premenopausal women, those going through menopause are unlikely to respond positively to antipsychotic medications.
An earlier study had reported that around 46 percent of the 276 women participants admitted to psychiatric hospitals before or during their periods, were associated with decreased estrogen levels. This confirmed the importance of estrogen in maintaining mental balance. Other studies have also indicated that symptoms of schizophrenia are heightened when the level of sex hormone is low, such as during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, post menopause and postpartum, and are reduced when the level of sex hormone is high, such as during pregnancy.
Though the gold standard for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions like schizophrenia continues to be antipsychotics, they are incapable of improving the cognitive and the negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia. They are used mainly for controlling the psychotic episodes. Characterized by a loss of interest in worldly pursuits, these negative symptoms prevent women from leading a normal life. Cognitive decline is associated with disorganization in thoughts, inability to reason and think clearly, etc., which can again critically hamper an individual’s life and increase mortality and morbidity risks. Therefore, there is an increased need for complementary treatment, such as estrogen therapy, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM).
Adequate care essential for treating schizophrenia
Apart from the regular medications, it essential that the individual suffering from schizophrenia and his or her family make certain lifestyle modifications to regulate mood swings. Regular follow-ups with the medical authority even on days when everything is normal is essential for preventing sudden flare-ups.
Sovereign Health, a leading behavioral health care provider in the United States, offers individualized, evidence-based treatment for mental health, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. At our treatment centers for schizophrenia, we ensure continuity of care to our patients and their families even after the completion of the treatment. For more information on our programs or to get connected to our state-of-the-art schizophrenia treatment centers in California, call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 973-7164 and speak to a representative. For instant help, you can also chat online.