Printer Friendly

Stanford Study of Drug Treatment for Kleptomania Seeks Patients.

Business Editors/Health & Medical Writers

STANFORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 1, 2002

Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center are starting the first placebo-controlled trial of a drug to treat kleptomania, a mental illness characterized by uncontrollable urges to steal.

Estimates suggest that more than 1.2 million people in the United States suffer from kleptomania, which begins by age 20 in about half of reported cases and may be triggered by stress. Kleptomaniacs steal impulsively, and they usually take inexpensive items they could pay for. Often they experience intense guilt after the theft and do not use the item. In contrast, most thieves steal for profit, take valuable items, plan in advance and experience no guilt.

Clinical studies of the illness have included more female than male participants, though more men are arrested for stealing. This disparity could result from judges being more lenient toward women caught shoplifting, said Lorrin Koran, M.D., professor of psychiatry and leader of the study. Kleptomania is a misdemeanor; those convicted usually perform community service rather than serve prison time.

The study will examine whether a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, currently on the market for treating depression can reduce stealing in kleptomaniacs. Koran has led several studies of a similar drug for treatment of compulsive shopping, a disorder in which sufferers cannot stop buying items. In one of those studies, nearly 75 percent of the patients significantly reduced their shopping while on the drug. Koran hopes to see similar results in the new kleptomania trial.

Because researchers often have problems recruiting people into placebo-controlled trials, where participants may or may not get the drug, all participants in the kleptomania study will receive the drug for the first seven weeks. Those who respond favorably -- with a significant decrease in stealing and no side effects that cause them to want to discontinue treatment -- will be randomized into active drug and placebo groups for the next 17 weeks. Throughout the trial all patients will be asked to keep a log tracking their kleptomania incidents and the intensity of their urges to steal as well as fill out psychiatric questionnaires to determine how well the drug is working.

The study is the first placebo-controlled trial of a drug treatment for kleptomania ever conducted. "The delay is partly because kleptomaniacs are reluctant to come for care. Their behavior is illegal, and they fear being turned in," Koran said. Psychiatrists are not required to report their patients' stealing behavior to the police, however, and in the study all patient information will be kept confidential.

Anyone who is age 20 or older and has had kleptomania for at least one year can volunteer. People interested in volunteering can contact the study office at (650) 725-5180.

The study is funded by Forest Laboratories, which makes the drug. Koran is part of the company's speaker bureau.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions -- Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center's Office of News and Public Affairs at
COPYRIGHT 2002 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Previous Article:The Leather Factory Inc. CFO Shannon Greene Talks to the Wall Street Transcript.
Next Article:Pacific Northwest Bancorp to Announce 3rd Quarter Earnings and Host Conference Call On October 17, 2002.

Related Articles
Encouraging efforts to kick cocaine.
Cancer study patients being sought.
Heart-rhythm drugs found risky for many.
Proposal seeks wider access to AIDS drugs.
Brain angioplasty may prevent strokes.
Placebos for depression attract scrutiny.
Stanford Researchers Encouraged by Early Results in Study of Medication to Treat Kleptomania; More Volunteers Needed.
Pain & women's health.
Stanford Study Finds No Conclusive Benefit From Treating Kleptomania With Medication.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters