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Unpublished Studies Questioned Efficacy of Antipsychotic Drugs

Filed March 22nd, 2012 Laurie

Popular atypical antipsychotic drugs, developed to treat schizophrenia and other disorders, have also long since been prescribed “off-label” by physicians for conditions like bipolar disorder and insomnia. But according to a new report, psychiatrists don’t have a full understanding of these drugs – not even multibillion-dollar grossing drugs like Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa, and Risperdal.

According to a Food and Drug Administration database, when seeking approval for eight atypical antipsychotic drugs, drug companies performed 24 studies, but four of those studies never got published in professional journals, and all were unflattering to the drug in question.

Two of the unpublished studies examined the drug Abilify. It was found to be no more effective than a super pill in treating schizophrenia. One study of the drug Geodon found it was no more effective than a placebo. A second stud found it was more effective than placebo, but it was less effective than an older, cheaper drug called Haldol.

Even so, when the negative unpublished data was added to positive, published studies, he found the overall effectivness of this class of drugs in treating shizophrenia fell by a small amount, about eight percent.

The negative drug studies were found buried in the FDA website, where they could only be understood by a specialist in statistics.

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