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January 1979

Use of Calcitonin in Psychotic Agitation or Mania

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Division of Special Mental Health Research, IRP, National Institute of Mental Health, St Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC. Dr. Carman is now with the University Hospital, Birmingham, Ala.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(1):72-75. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780010078008

• Synthetic salmon calcitonin was administered subcutaneously to 12 inpatients with several primary psychotic diagnoses. Increases in serum total calcium and inorganic phosphorus levels and decreases in CSF calcium level had earlier been observed during periodic psychotic agitation or mania. By contrast, calcitonin, which decreased serum calcium and phosphorus levels and increased CSF calcium level, appeared to produce transient (24-hour) increases in depression and decreases in arousal in this double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Quantitative activity monitoring confirmed the rater's impression that this agent had tranquilizing or depressant effects in such patients. When given in the evening, this polypeptide also appeared to delay sleep onset, as demonstrated both by nurses' 30-minute sleep checks and by the same longitudinal activity record.

A decreased hypocalcemic response to calcitonin was noted in the agitated patients, which might explain the increases in serum calcium level described at the "switch."