Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More bad news for Zyprexa, Risperdal & Seroquel

From various sources including Reuters and

Drugs treat elderly patients with dementia-related symptoms may raise their risk of death.

Researchers reviewed the results of multiple studies on drugs known as atypical anti-psychotics and sold under the brand names Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel and Abilify.

Of the 5,000+ elderly dementia patients each faced a 54 percent increased risk of death within 12 weeks of taking the drugs. A total of 118 deaths in the group of 3,353 drug users, versus 40 in the 1,757-patient placebo group, or 3.5 percent compared with 2.3 percent. The risks were similar for each of the drugs.

What is notable is that each drug was approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disease - not elderly dementia. "Off-label" uses are common and often legal.

The FDA warned in early 2005 that the drugs had been linked to deaths from heart failure and pneumonia. The labels were only recently changed.

You can also go to JAMA to check out the abstract article on this subject. Go here for more information.