Five years ago, a Japanese psychiatrist and his colleagues observed something peculiar regarding two schizophrenia patients.
One was a 23-year-old man who had been hospitalized for a first episode of schizophrenia. While in the hospital he developed a severe case of pneumonia, which was treated with the antibiotic minocycline. Two weeks later, his schizophrenia symptoms resolved along with his pneumonia.
The other was a 61-year-old man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 20. During his most recent hospitalization for it, he developed a bedsore that was treated with minocycline. Two weeks later, the bedsore healed, and minocycline was discontinued. The patient’s schizophrenia symptoms worsened. Minocycline was resumed; within three days, the patient’s schizophrenia symptoms improved.
“I was so surprised by these developments,” the psychiatrist—Tsuyoshi Miyaoka, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Japan’s Shimane University School of Medicine—told Psychiatric News. “Could minocycline have antipsychotic properties? I wondered.”
While I’d like to see more treatments for schizophrenia I do not think that using antibiotics for it is a good idea. We are on the brink of a crisis with “superbugs”, antibiotic resistant microorganisms. I’d rather deal with my mental illness with other treatments than help bring untold suffering and death to everyone.
Yes - that is an issue - but its a much bigger issue that the 1% of people with schizophrenia should (I think) be worrying about. There is vast overusage of antibiotics - but to deny a treatment to the 1% that really need help with negative symptoms seems very unequal.
Sure - I think people should lower usage of antibiotic usage generally - but don’t deny people a treatment if it helps.
If it turns out to be extremely effective, like a revolutionary treatment for schizophrenia, then I’d agree let’s use it. But it it’s just an alternative to other treatments then I would be strongly against it.
We don’t need an outbreak with stories of how schizophrenics are breeding grounds for unstoppable “superbugs” that spread through the population like the plague.