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Older, inexpensive drugs have proven effective for mental health problems
Cheap and widely used drugs for diabetes and heart disease have great potential for treating severe mental disorders.
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New research has shown that cheap and widely used drugs for diabetes and heart disease have great potential for treating severe mental disorders. The results of the study were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The results showed that among people taking certain drugs, the need for inpatient treatment for mental illness decreased by 20%. Scientists at University College London, who conducted the study, believe that their discovery "has great potential."
British researchers have focused on the following drugs:
statins (anti-cholesterol drugs), which can relieve inflammation associated with mental illness or help the body absorb antipsychotic drugs
- calcium antagonists - drugs for high blood pressure that can alter some of the functions of calcium in the human brain, which is associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia;
- Metformin is a type 2 diabetes drug that can change mood.
Scientists relied on data from medical records. They analyzed medical records of 142,691 patients from Sweden who were diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other severe mental illness.
They then compared the number of admissions to psychiatric hospitals among people who took and did not take the indicated drugs. As it turned out, with the use of these drugs, there was a decrease in such hospitalizations by 10-20%, as well as a decrease in the number of cases of self-harm. However, the authors caution against self-medication attempts, as the study results require further confirmation in clinical trials.
Nonetheless, Dr. James MacCabe of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London said the study was "very compelling."
"The data obtained strongly suggest the potential role of using these drugs for other purposes, to improve the mental health of patients," - quoted McCabe BBC.
However, studies comparing a group of patients taking a drug to a group not taking it have a flaw. The fact is that patients who are in a relatively better mental state will be more inclined to take care of themselves and take medications, in contrast to patients whose mental state no longer allows them to take medications.