Sunday, December 7, 2008

No Reason to Prefer Atypical Antipsychotics over Older Drugs

The common distinction between first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs has no scientific basis and should be dropped, said researchers here.

A meta-analysis of 150 double-blind studies found little evidence that newer, so-called atypical antipsychotic drugs are more effective than older drugs for symptoms of schizophrenia, reported Stefan Leucht, M.D., of Munich Technical University, and colleagues online in The Lancet.

The researchers also found that although newer drugs induced fewer extrapyramidal effects than haloperidol (Haldol) that was not the case when compared with low-potency first-generation agents.

"Second-generation antipsychotic drugs differ in many properties" -- including structure and mode of action as well as clinical effects -- "and are not a homogeneous class," the researchers concluded.

"Improper generalization creates confusion and, as a result, the classification [of first- versus second-generation agents] might be abandoned," they said.


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