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.”
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