Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators - A Potential Treatment for Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia (SERM)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00361543
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 8, 2006
Last Update Posted : January 30, 2015
Stanley Medical Research Institute
National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor, The Alfred

Brief Summary:

The aim of the project is to investigate the use of Raloxifene (a new form of estrogen) in the treatment of women with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Raloxifene is a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM), which means that it can affect the central nervous system (CNS) effects of estrogen (eg. improving emotional symptoms, memory, information processing and concentration), without adversely affecting reproductive tissue/organs such as breast, uterus and ovaries. The investigators are conducting a double-blind, placebo controlled, three month study comparing the psychotic symptom response of women with schizophrenia in both groups. One group will receive standard antipsychotic medication plus 120mg Raloxifene, while the second group will receive standard antipsychotic medication plus oral placebo.

Hypothesis 1: That the women receiving adjunctive Raloxifene would have a quicker recovery from psychotic symptoms, as measured on the rating scales, compared with the women receiving adjunctive placebo.

Hypothesis 2: That the Raloxifene group would have better cognitive improvement than the placebo group.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Schizophrenia Schizoaffective Disorder Schizophreniform Disorder Drug: Raloxifene hydrochloride Other: Lactose Capsules Phase 4

Detailed Description:

Estrogen is hypothesised to be protective for women against early onset of severe symptoms of schizophrenia (Hafner, 1991; Seeman, 1992). This 'estrogen hypothesis' was derived from epidemiological, clinical and animal studies. Following the results of such studies, the investigators conducted a study (Kulkarni et al 1996) in which a group of premenopausal women with schizophrenia were given 0.02mg oral estradiol as an adjunct to antipsychotic drug treatment for eight weeks, and compared their progress with a similar group who received antipsychotic drugs only. The group receiving estrogen made a significantly more rapid recovery from acute psychotic symptoms and also reported improvement in their general health status. Subsequently, the investigators conducted a four week double-blind, placebo-controlled study, using 100mcg estradiol skin patches. The investigators found that the 12 premenopausal women who received the estradiol adjunct had a significantly lower total PANSS and BPRS score than 12 women who received placebo patches plus antipsychotic medication.

The major potential risks in using estrogen as a longer term adjunctive treatment in premenopausal women with schizophrenia appear to be the potential harmful effects of estrogen itself in its action on breast and uterine tissue. Our studies were brief for this reason, in that the investigators used estrogen without progesterone over an eight week or four week period.

With the recent advent of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, in particular Raloxifene Hydrochloride, there is the potential to harness the positive estrogenic effect on CNS neurotransmitter systems without affecting breast or uterine tissue. While the CNS effects of Raloxifene have not been fully studied, its actions are mediated through binding to estrogen receptors and can thereby regulate gene expression that is ligand, tissue or gene specific. By inference then, Raloxifene would be expected to impact on dopamine and serotonin pathways in a similar fashion to conjugated estrogen. A study (Nickleisen et al 1999) on the effect of Raloxifene on cognition in healthy, postmenopausal women found a slight increase in verbal memory performance after one month of high dose treatment, while no other differences were found after 12 months of treatment. There are no studies in women with cognitive impairment where a treatment effect would be more likely to be apparent. Similarly, there are no clinical studies to date investigating the effect of Raloxifene on psychotic symptoms. To this end, the investigators are putting forward an investigator initiated clinical trial proposal to investigate the effect of adjunctive Raloxifene on psychotic symptoms in women with schizophrenia. This is, therefore, a study to follow our Pilot Study in the same area, but with an increase of Raloxifene from 60mg to 120mg daily.

The aim of this project is to study the effect of Raloxifene as an adjunct to antipsychotic medication in women with schizophrenia as a means to developing a novel, safe adjunctive treatment for women with schizophrenia to improve their quality of life.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 54 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators - A Potential Treatment for Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Study Start Date : August 2006
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : December 2014

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: 1
Raloxifene Hydrochloride
Drug: Raloxifene hydrochloride
120 mg per capsule (1 tablet daily)

Placebo Comparator: 2
placebo tablet
Other: Lactose Capsules
1 tablet daily for 12 weeks

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. PANSS score at trial completion (12 weeks) [ Time Frame: baseline, week 2,4,6,8,10,12 ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. MADRS score at trial completion (12 weeks) [ Time Frame: baseline, week 2,4,6,8,10,12 ]
  2. Cognitive Test scores at trial completion (12weeks) [ Time Frame: baseline and week 12 ]
  3. Adverse Symptom Checklist score at trial completion (12 weeks) [ Time Frame: baseline, week 2,4,6,8,10,12 ]
  4. Hormone level change over study duration (12 weeks) [ Time Frame: baseline, weeks 4, 8, 12 ]

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Ages Eligible for Study:   45 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Physically well.
  • A current DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or related disorder.
  • 45-70 years
  • Able to give informed consent.
  • PANSS total score > 60 (1 - 7 scale) and a score of 4 (moderate) or more on two or more of the following PANSS items: delusions, hallucinatory behaviour, conceptual disorganization or suspiciousness.
  • No abnormality observed during physical breast examination.
  • Documented normal PAP smear and pelvic examination in the preceding two years.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with known abnormalities in the hypothalamo-pituitary gonadal axis, thyroid dysfunction, central nervous system tumours, active or past history of a venous thromboembolic event, or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
  • Patients with any significant unstable medical illness such as epilepsy and diabetes or known active cardiac, renal or liver disease; presence of illness causing immobilisation.
  • Patients whose psychotic illness is directly related to illicit substance use or who have a history of substance abuse or dependence during the last six months, or consumption of more than 30gm of alcohol (three standard drinks) per day.
  • Smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day.
  • Use of any form of estrogen, progestin or androgen as hormonal therapy, or antiandrogen including tibolone or use of phytoestrogen supplements as powder or tablet.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00361543

Australia, Victoria
Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3004
Sponsors and Collaborators
The Alfred
Stanley Medical Research Institute
National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia
Principal Investigator: Jayashri Kulkarni, MBBS, MPM, FRANZCP, PhD Bayside Health, Alfred Hospital

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor, Principal Investigator, The Alfred Identifier: NCT00361543     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: MAPrc 94/06
First Posted: August 8, 2006    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: January 30, 2015
Last Verified: January 2015

Keywords provided by Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor, The Alfred:
Mental Illness

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Psychotic Disorders
Pathologic Processes
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders
Raloxifene Hydrochloride
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Estrogen Antagonists
Hormone Antagonists
Bone Density Conservation Agents