Schizophrenia News: August 2012

  • A review that appears in the August 14 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates the traditional antipsychotics may work as well as the newer atypical drugs.


    75 of U.S. adults prescribed antipsychotic medications take the second-generation drugs.  A month's supply of Zyprexa can cost $546 yet a month's supply of Haldol ranges from $18 to $27, according to Consumer Reports.


    Researchers at the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reviewed 114 studies to find out if the newer drugs are really more effective or less risky. 


    Their review indicates the atypical, newer drugs are not much better than the original drugs at treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions and hallucinations.

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    Zyprexa and Risperdal appeared to be more effective at treating negative symptoms compared with Haldol.


    No significant evidence was found to compare the risk profiles between the older and newer drugs. 


    An adjunct assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. David Straker, commented on the review that "It comes down to weighing the risks versus the benefit in each individual patient."


    The second-generation drugs carry the risk of weight gain that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.  The newer drugs like Geodon, Saphris and Latuda have a lower risk of weight gain.


    (Older Antipsychotics May Work as Well as Newer Ones: Review retrieved on August 21, 2012 from


    In other news, a shorter duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is linked to better long-term schizophrenia outcomes.


    Bernardo Carpiniello at the University of Cagliari, Italy and colleagues examined the clinical charts of 80 outpatients (52 men) with schizophrenia.  Their mean age was 51 years and the mean duration of follow-up was 25.2 years.  The mean DUP among the patients was 49 months.


    The research indicated the patients with a DUP of less than 1 year were more likely than those with a longer DUP to have been hospitalized less than three times, at 85.7 percent versus 62.1 percent.  These individuals had better Global Assessment of Functioning scores, at 50.32 versus 40.26.


    Though prior studies demonstrated a reduced DUP is linked to improved short-term outcomes for people with schizophrenia, the researchers of this study believe a shorter DUP "appears to act as a significant predictor of better outcome in schizophrenia even in the very long term," as reported in the Annals of General Psychiatry.


    (Shorter DUP linked to better long-term schizophrenia outcomes retrieved August 21, 2012 from


Published On: August 21, 2012