Friday, January 07, 2011

More evidence on overuse of antipsychotics

So-called 'second-generation,' antipsychotic drugs were originally developed to tackle psychoses and schizophrenia but are increasingly being used to tackle unrelated conditions where cheaper and more effective alternatives exist. Researchers from the University of Chicago and IMS Health used data from a survey of U.S. physicians. They found that 16.7 million prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs were written in 2008, accounting for $10 bn, or nearly 5% of U.S. spending on prescription drugs. 9 million of the prescriptions - about $6bn across the U.S. - were for conditions where the use of the drug does not have approval from the U.S.'s Food and Drug Administration. There were particular concerns about the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat bipolar disorder and depression where cheaper and more evidence-based alternatives exist. The drugs can have a number of different side effects including weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.

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