Estrogen as an adjunctive treatment approach for managing schizophrenia

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Evidence from epidemiological, basic research and animal studies indicate that estrogens exert protective effects in schizophrenia. Observations of gender differences in the onset and course of schizophrenia have prompted exploration of the effects of estrogen on the central nervous system. Adjunctive estrogen has been shown to be effective in enhancing the treatment of women with schizophrenia while in men, consideration for treatment has been impacted by concerns of feminising side effects. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of different applications of adjunctive hormones as a potential treatment for symptoms of mental illness in both men and women. Novel treatment approaches such as estrogen augmentation, are detailed. Treatment with estrogen has been limited by potential side effects associated ? the most ominous being breast and uterine cancer. Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators may offer therapeutic benefits for both men and women with schizophrenia without posing threat to breast and uterine tissue and without feminising effect. The use of estrogen opens up new possibilities for both men and women in the treatment of schizophrenia symptoms. Hormone modulation is a promising area of treatment for serious mental illness, though an emphasis should be placed on the hormonal status of women which is an aspect of psychiatry that is sensitive to the differences between the sexes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124 - 128
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatrie und Psychotherapie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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