Hayes nodded and explained how his team was trying to be accountable in this regard: they were trying to find out if patients with mental illness were better off when they had a diuretic prescription (a medicine against the disease). 39; hypertension).

There is existing evidence that statins, calcium In theory, channel blockers and metformin may have beneficial effects on mental health. In contrast, there is no similar evidence for diuretics. Hayes explains that if drug use is simply an indicator of improved health care – or the stability of patients' lives – diuretics should also do better.

It turned out that they did not do it.

"This goes against the argument that what we observe is simply linked to a greater period of stability," Hayes said.

The results are based on the medical records of 142,691 Swedish adults and adolescents treated for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or non-affective psychosis between 2005 and 2016.

The researchers focused on the use of statins, calcium channel blockers or metformin in patients, because of the evidence that these drugs could relieve symptoms related to mental health.

Statins, for example, are anti-inflammatory and it is thought that various psychiatric disorders involve inflammation of the central nervous system, according to Hayes. In addition, animal research has suggested that statins may have antipsychotic effects or protect brain cells from damage.

Metformin, on the other hand, could help solve problems with the use of glucose (sugar) by the brain in people with certain mental disorders. For their part, calcium channel blockers target L-type calcium channels, which exist not only in the heart and blood vessels, but also in the brain. And animal research suggests that they help control emotional behavior.

Overall, investigators found that patients were less likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital during periods when they had a prescription for any of these drugs, compared to patients who were not treated. Other moments.

They were also less likely to self-harm, which includes suicide attempts.

The study, published online Jan. 9 in JAMA Psychiatry, was funded by government grants and foundations.

"At this point," said Hayes, "we do not suggest to people with these mental illnesses to change their treatment."

But, he added, if they have health problems that warrant taking a statin, a calcium channel blocker or metformin, they should perhaps be the one make.