Researchers are looking to see if aspirin, a common over-the-counter medication, can work in combination with prescribed antipsychotic medications to improve the outcomes for those with bipolar disorder and other mental illness.
The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston has researchers studying the effects of aspirin, an anti-inflammatory, as an add-on therapy to see if it can help reduce inflammation in the brain which may influence symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Investigators are also looking at an over-the-counter antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to see its treatment properties for illnesses such as bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and diabetes.
NAC, in previous, studies showed a reduction in symptoms for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Investigators are not certain how exactly the drug works, but they believe antioxidant properties of NAC may have positive effects on the brain cells and chemicals involved in depression and bipolar disorder.
"The study is interesting because we're looking at a commonly available medication that might help bipolar disorder," said principal investigator Jair Soares, MD. There's a growing body of literature that suggests depression involves some mild inflammation, and stress has a role as well. NAC may help the brain remain fresher longer. Aspirin, by alleviating possible inflammation in brain neurons, may keep these cells healthier and functioning better."
Medications for bipolar disorder can only effectively manage symptoms for 50 to 60 percent of patients. Researchers hope the combined treatment will improve symptoms for those not helped by traditional medication regimens.
The double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study will combine NAC, aspirin, placebo, or NAC and aspiring together to the current medication regimen of patients.
Source Psych Central