Northampton hospital drug trial could save UK £1bn

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A succesful drug trial at a Northampton hospital could help wipe out a common disorder and save the country
£1 billion a year, health bosses have claimed.

A team from St Andrew’s Healthcare, based at St Andrew’s Hospital, off Billing Road, has completed a study for women with ‘borderline personality disorder’.

The disorder causes serious instability of mood and behaviour, affecting one in 200 of the population, and costing the country upto £5bn per year, a billion of which is in healthcare, for example A&E and psychiatric hospital care .

St Andrews, a charity-run hospital for people with mental health problems, has said clozapine, more commonly used in the treatment of mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, was found to be effective in research conducted with borderline personality disorder patients over an eight-year period.

Findings claimed to include “improvement in measured behaviours” and “positive experiences reported by the women involved”.

A spokeswoman for St Andrew’s Healthcare said: “The results, which will be published shortly, have implications for future UK prescribing practice. St Andrew’s is now actively planning a large multi-centre trial to further demonstrate clinical benefits.”

Meanwhile, the charity’s chief executive, Professor Philip Sugarman, and colleagues in the St Andrew’s Academic Centre have also published proposals to reform the rules for drug research in mental health care.

The spokeswoman said: “Studies like this suggest that St Andrew’s, with its large and unique patient population, could become a national centre for research into the application of existing drugs in novel ways. Careful research, undertaken with the full knowledge and consent of the patients involved, could help to advance our understanding of how to better help people with complex mental health needs.”