WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Sept. 4, 2007 -- An experimental new drug may prove to be new way to treat schizophrenia, new research shows.
A study published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Medicine highlights the new schizophrenia drug, which doesn't have a catchy name yet.
The drug, which is being developed by the drug company Eli Lilly, is currently called "LY2140023." That name refers to the drug's chemical structure.
Lilly scientists tested LY2140023 on nearly 200 adults with schizophrenia in Russian mental institutions.
The patients had been hospitalized for worsening symptoms. They were 40 years old, on average, and typically had had schizophrenia for more than 15 years, according to the study.
During the four-week study, patients either took two daily pills containing LY2140023, a daily shot of the antipsychotic drug olanzapine, or a pill containing no medicine (placebo).
Patients taking LY2140023 or olanzapine had a reduction in their schizophrenia symptoms, compared to patients taking the placebo.
Overall, the new schizophrenia drug was "safe and well tolerated," the study states. Side effects were typically mild to moderate and included insomnia, nausea, and headache.
In addition, patients taking LY2140023 "seemed to be more emotional than before," write the researchers, who included Sandeep Patil, MD, PhD, who now works for Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.
LY2140023 has antipsychotic effects but works differently than other antipsychotic drugs, targeting a brain chemical called glutamate, which has long been suspected of playing a role in schizophrenia, note the researchers.
They call for longer, larger studies to test LY2140023 as a new schizophrenia medication.
SOURCES: Patil, S. Nature Medicine; Sept. 2, 2007; advance online
edition. News release, Nature Medicine.
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