Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Sign up for
UH study

Many are referred for the
study by friends, but irritable
people themselves must
volunteer for the test

By Helen Altonn


A newspaper ad seeking volunteers for an irritability study at the University of Hawaii drew lots of calls - from people trying to volunteer other people.

Friends or relatives of grouchy people are trying to get them into the study, said Dr. James Manaligod of the Department of Psychiatry, John A. Burns School of Medicine.

"Unfortunately, we can't have other people volunteer (someone) ... but it's an obvious problem."

Constant irritability creates social problems, Manaligod said.

So if you're feeling grouchy and snapping at everyone, you may be a candidate for his research.

He's trying to determine if the drug paroxetine is an effective treatment for chronic irritability. This occurs when someone is irritable for at least two months and has anger attacks, sometimes over minor annoyances, he said.

Research has shown that low levels of serotonin in the brain are linked to aggression and irritability, Manaligod said.

Paroxetine enhances serotonin production and is a safe medication, now used mostly to treat depression, he said. UH and the drug's maker are funding his eight-week study to see if paroxetine also will reduce irritability.

Manaligod has started recruiting and is seeking 40 participants.

Manaligod said most volunteers "are complaining that they're irritable and they don't like it."

"Sometimes with co-workers, they can hold things together better, but at home their anger or irritability is expressed more," he said.

Manaligod said half of the participants will receive paroxetine, while the others get a placebo. After four weeks, each person will receive another set of pills.

Neither the volunteers nor Manaligod will know whether they're getting the medication or a placebo until the study ends, he said, "so any bias the participants or I have shouldn't be affected."

Volunteers will be screened by phone, then interviewed at the UH Department of Psychiatry offices at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

Coded bottles of pills with a four-week supply of either paroxetine or placebo will be assigned randomly.

Volunteers will be asked to take one pill a day.

Dr. Enrico Camara, also with the UH Department of Psychiatry, conducted a preliminary six-week study with 13 participants.

Irritability and the number of anger outbursts decreased significantly, according to information from questionnaires, he said.

Participants in his expanded study will be informed of the results after the data are analyzed.

Always angry?

If you're always grouchy, you may be a candidate for an irritability study at the University of Hawaii:

Bullet Forty volunteers are needed. They must be between 18 and 70 years old.
Bullet Candidates must be healthy and continuously irritable, but not depressed, have a psychiatric disorder or taking medication that affects moods.
Bullet They will receive a placebo or a typical daily dose of 20 mg for the drug paroxetine.
Bullet Possible side-effects from the drug are sedation, headache, nausea, upset stomach and constipation. No serious adverse effects are known.
Bullet To volunteer, call 547-4751, the UH office at Queen's Medical Center.

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