Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New Antipsychotic Drugs Criticized

Federal Study Finds No Benefit Over Older, Cheaper Drug
Expensive new antipsychotic drugs that are among the most widely prescribed pills in medicine are no more effective and no safer than an older, cheaper drug that has been largely discontinued, according to the most comprehensive comparative study ever conducted.
The surprising result of a federally funded study released yesterday challenges widespread assumptions among psychiatrists about the best way to treat serious mental illness and underscores the extent to which physicians, patients and policymakers can be blindsided by self-interested research by drugmakers....The study also paints a sobering picture of the state of treatment of schizophrenia, a disabling illness that afflicts about 3.2 million Americans with symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations and disordered thinking: Every drug, old and new, caused serious side effects, and the vast majority of patients stopped taking each of them."The study has vital public health implications," said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study. "It is the largest, longest and most comprehensive, independent trial ever done to examine existing therapies for this disease."


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