Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who knew!? Big Bad Pharma!?

Four Common Antipsychotic Drugs Found to Lack Safety and Effectiveness in Older Adults

ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — In older adults, antipsychotic drugs are commonly prescribed off-label for a number of disorders outside of their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications -- schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The largest number of antipsychotic prescriptions in older adults is for behavioral disturbances associated with dementia, some of which carry FDA warnings on prescription information for these drugs.

In a new study -- led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Stanford University and the University of Iowa, and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health -- four of the antipsychotics most commonly prescribed off label for use in patients over 40 were found to lack both safety and effectiveness. The results will be published November 27 in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study looked at four atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) -- aripiprazole (Abilify), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), and risperidone (Risperdal) -- in 332 patients over the age of 40 diagnosed with psychosis associated with schizophrenia, mood disorders, PTSD, or dementia.

"Our study suggests that off-label use of these drugs in older people should be short-term, and undertaken with caution," said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, and director of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at UC San Diego.

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