The popular drugs known as atypical antipsychotics, prescribed for an array of conditions, including schizophrenia, autism and dementia, double patients’ risk of dying from sudden heart failure, a study has found.
The finding is the latest in a succession of recent reports contradicting the long-held assumption that the new drugs, which include Risperdal, Zyprexa and Seroquel, are safer than the older and much less expensive medications that they replaced.
The risk of death from the drugs is not high, on average about 3 percent in a person being treated at least 10 years, according to the study, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Nor was the risk different from that of the older antipsychotic drugs.
But it was significant enough that an accompanying editorial urged doctors to limit their prescribing of antipsychotic drugs, especially to children and elderly patients,who can be highly susceptible to the drugs’ side effects, including rapid weight gain.
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