FRIDAY, Jan. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Three classes of drugs hold potential as repurposed agents to treat patients with serious mental illness, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Joseph F. Hayes, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues evaluated the repurposing of hydroxylmethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (HMG-CoA RIs), L-type calcium channel (LTCC) antagonists, and biguanides among 142,691 Swedish individuals (aged ≥15 years) with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (BPD), schizophrenia, or nonaffective psychosis (NAP). Patients were treated with psychiatric medication from Oct. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2016.

The researchers found that HMG-CoA RI exposure periods were associated with reduced rates of psychiatric hospitalization in BPD (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.86), schizophrenia (aHR, 0.75), and NAP (aHR, 0.80), as well as reduced self-harm rates in BPD (aHR, 0.76) and schizophrenia (aHR, 0.58). Similarly, exposure to LTCC antagonists was associated with reduced rates of psychiatric hospitalization and self-harm in subgroups with BPD (aHRs, 0.92 and 0.81, respectively), schizophrenia (aHRs, 0.80 and 0.30, respectively), and NAP (aHRs, 0.89 and 0.56, respectively). Finally, with biguanide exposure, psychiatric hospitalization rates were reduced in subgroups with BPD (aHR, 0.80), schizophrenia (aHR, 0.73), and NAP (aHR, 0.85), while self-harm was reduced in BPD (aHR, 0.73) and schizophrenia (aHR, 0.64).

“Given the well-known adverse event profiles of these agents, they should be further investigated as repurposed agents for psychiatric symptoms,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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