RATIONALE: Lithium remains the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder and also has important effects to lower suicidal behaviour, a property that may be linked to its ability to diminish impulsive, aggressive behaviour. The antioxidant drug, ebselen, has been proposed as a possible lithium-mimetic based on its ability in animals to inhibit inositol monophosphatase (IMPase), an action which it shares with lithium. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to determine whether treatment with ebselen altered emotional processing and diminished measures of risk-taking behaviour. METHODS: We studied 20 healthy participants who were tested on two occasions receiving either ebselen (3600 mg over 24 h) or identical placebo in a double-blind, randomized, cross-over design. Three hours after the final dose of ebselen/placebo, participants completed the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT) and a task that required the detection of emotional facial expressions (facial emotion recognition task (FERT)). RESULTS: On the CGT, relative to placebo, ebselen reduced delay aversion while on the FERT, it increased the recognition of positive vs negative facial expressions. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that at the dosage used, ebselen can decrease impulsivity and produce a positive bias in emotional processing. These findings have implications for the possible use of ebselen in the disorders characterized by impulsive behaviour and dysphoric mood.
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Ebselen, Emotional processing, Impulsivity, Lithium-mimetic, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Azoles, Bipolar Disorder, Cross-Over Studies, Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors, Decision Making, Double-Blind Method, Emotions, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Male, Neuroprotective Agents, Organoselenium Compounds, Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases, Recognition (Psychology), Reward, Risk-Taking, Young Adult