The breast cancer drug tamoxifen may help control the manic phase of bipolar disorder, a new study has found.

It also appears to work faster than many standard medications used to treat the illness, according to a HealthDay News report.

For the study, Dr. Husseini K. Manji, director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health's mood and anxiety disorders program, and his colleagues gave tamoxifen to eight patients experiencing a manic episode, while another eight received a placebo.

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After three weeks, 63 percent of those on tamoxifen had reduced symptoms of mania, compared to 13 percent of those on a placebo. The tamoxifen group responded within five days of treatment.

The study results are published online in the September issue of Bipolar Disorders.