New psychotropic drugs no better than the old, study finds

Raleigh News & ObserverSeptember 15, 2008 

A comparison of medications for severe mental illness shows that an old drug works just as well as new ones for teenagers, plus it doesn't cause the weight gain that has worried patients, parents and doctors, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill report today.

The study, the first to compare the two generations of schizophrenia drugs, could change the way doctors prescribe treatments for teens. The powerful new medications are increasingly prescribed for a variety of disorders, including aggression, hyperactivity, depression and autism.

A national study published in 2006 found that between 1993 and 2002, there was a sixfold increase in the number of doctor visits that resulted in young people getting prescriptions for antipsychotic medications.

And overwhelmingly, teenagers are prescribed the new drugs, which include Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon and Abilify.

Few of the drugs have been specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children. But they are widely prescribed because doctors have perceived them as generally safe.

Read the full story at newsobserver.com.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service