Pregnenolone Effective for Bipolar Depression
the Psychiatry Advisor take:
Depression is common in bipolar disorder, and unfortunately, often proves difficult for mental health professionals to treat properly. As a result, additional drugs are normally added to treatment regimens.
Now researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have examined the efficacy of the neurosteroid pregnenolone to treat depression in this population.
E. Sherwood Brown, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Bipolar Disorders at the hospital, and colleagues analyzed data from 80 adults with bipolar disorder and depression, and randomly assigned patients to receive pregnenolone or placebo as add-on therapy for 12 weeks.
Outcomes were measured using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Self-Report (IDS-SR), Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HRSA), and Young Mania Rating Scale. Blood neurosteroid levels were monitored throughout the study.
“Depression remission rates were greater in the pregnenolone group (61%) compared with the placebo group (37%), as assessed by the IDS-SR (χ2(1)=3.99, P=0.046), but not the HRSD,” the researchers reported Neuropsychopharmacology.
Large changes in neurosteroid levels from baseline to the study exit period were observed in the pregnenolone group, but not in the placebo group -- suggesting high treatment adherence.
Overall, pregnenolone was well tolerated and the authors concluded the drug may reduce depression in bipolar patients with depression.
Neurosteroid Studied as Bipolar Depression Treatment
Depression in bipolar disorder (BPD) is challenging to treat. Therefore, additional medication options are needed. In a recent study, the effect of the neurosteroid pregnenolone on depressive symptoms in BPD was examined.
Adults (n=80) with BPD, depressed mood state, were randomized to pregnenolone (titrated to 500 mg/day) or placebo, as add-on therapy, for 12 weeks. Outcome measures included the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Self-Report (IDS-SR), Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HRSA), and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS).
The results suggest that pregnenolone may improve depressive symptoms in patients with BPD and can be safely administered.
Sign Up for Free e-newsletters
Psychiatry Advisor Articles
- Cost-Effectiveness of Atomoxetine for Treating Children with ADHD
- Efficacy of Drugs for Psychosis, Relapse Prevention for Bipolar Depression, Mania
- No Evidence of Cognitive Impairment With Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate in ADHD
- Differential Testosterone Levels in Men, Women With Schizophrenia
- Plasma Autoantibodies Possible Biomarker for Schizophrenia
- Substance-Induced Psychosis Associated With Development of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder
- Neuropsychiatric Events May Be Linked to Nitrated Nucleosome Levels in Lupus
- New APA Guideline Recommendation for Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder
- Reducing PTSD Symptoms: Propranolol Before Reactivation Therapy
- Cannabis Use Associated With Subsequent Psychotic Experiences in Adolescents
- Antidepressants More Effective Than Placebo for Acute Depression in Adults
- Positive Beliefs About Age May Protect Older Adults Against Dementia
- Electrical Stimulation of Amygdala May Improve Long-Term Memory
- Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia May Be Reduced With MIN-101
- Apathy: An Important Predictor of Employment in Huntington Disease