Minocycline: Therapeutic Potential in Psychiatry

CNS Drugs, 04/25/2012

Minocycline has been trialled in open–label or small randomized controlled trials in psychiatry. Results vary, with findings supporting use in schizophrenia, but showing less benefit for nicotine dependence and obsessive–compulsive disorder.

  • Growing evidence suggests that oxidative stress, inflammation, changes in glutamatergic pathways and neurotrophins play important roles in many psychiatric illnesses including mood disorders, schizophrenia and addiction.
  • These novel insights into pathophysiology allow new treatment targets to be explored.
  • Minocycline is an antibiotic that can modulate glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
  • Given that these mechanisms overlap with the newly understood pathophysiological pathways, minocycline has potential as an adjunctive treatment in psychiatry.
  • To date there have been promising clinical indications that minocycline may be a useful treatment in psychiatry, albeit from small trials most of which were not placebo controlled.
  • Case reports of individuals with schizophrenia, psychotic symptoms and bipolar depression have shown serendipitous benefits of minocycline treatment on psychiatric symptoms.

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