A cheap antibiotic called Minocycline is thought to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. The drug is frequently prescribed to teenagers in order to relieve their acne. Now that same drug is being tested to see if it could reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Trials of the new drug will start around the world. The National Institute of Health Research is funding a £1.9million trial of Minocycline. They will begin recruiting patients in the UK next month.
Japanese scientists first stumbled upon this discovery when in 2007 a Japanese man who had no previous psychiatric history began to suffer from hallucinations, insomnia and anxiety. They started him on a strong anti-psychotic halperidol but it had no effect and he developed a severe case of pneumonia. He was prescribed minocycline and within two weeks his pneumonia and his psychiatric problem was revolved. After this he was taken off minocycline but his symptoms worsened he was put back on minocycline and his symptoms were alleviated. He has remained on minocycline and has not had any psychiatric problems since.
I think this is a great discovery and hopefully this will help many patients with mental health problems.