What is oestrogen?

Oestrogen is a hormone that has been proposed to confer a protective effect for schizophrenia. This theory is based on the observations that women tend to have a later age of onset of schizophrenia than men, and have a second peak of onset after menopause. In women, oestrogen levels drop with age, particularly with the onset of menopause. This protective effect may mean that pre-menopausal women who develop schizophrenia may experience a less severe illness than males. Oestrogens are not used routinely for people with schizophrenia; however some studies have trialed the use of oestrogen as an additional, adjunctive treatment to standard antipsychotic treatment.

What is the evidence for oestrogen?

High quality evidence indicates a medium-sized effect of adjunctive oestrogen for improving positive and negative symptoms in females with schizophrenia. Low quality evidence is unclear as to the benefit of oestrogen (alone or combined with progesterone) for improving cognitive functioning or tardive dyskinesia.

March 2019

Last updated at: 12:04 am, 21st March 2019
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