Role of estrogen treatment in the management of schizophrenia

Jayashri Kulkarni, Emorfia Gavrilidis, Roisin Worsley, Emily Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing evidence from epidemiological, preclinical and clinical studies suggests that estrogens may exert psychoprotective effects in schizophrenia. Observations of gender differences in the onset and course of schizophrenia have prompted exploration of the effects of estrogen on the CNS. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of different applications of adjunctive estrogen as a possible treatment for symptoms of schizophrenia in both men and women. Recent trials have suggested that estrogen augmentation therapy may be able to enhance the management of schizophrenia; however, the clinical application of estrogen as a treatment has been limited by potential side effects, the most worrying being breast and uterine cancer in women, and feminization in men. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), however, may offer therapeutic benefits for both men and women with schizophrenia without posing threat to breast and uterine tissue and without feminizing effects.The use of estrogen opens up new possibilities for both men and women in the treatment of severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. With further preclinical and clinical research, it is hoped that this promising field of hormone modulation can continue to evolve and eventually be translated into real therapeutic potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549 - 557
Number of pages9
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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