MONDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- First- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs are similarly effective in treating schizophrenia patients whose medication is changed for clinical reasons, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Peter B. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and colleagues studied 227 patients with schizophrenia requiring a change in treatment due to adverse effects or inadequate clinical response. Of these, 118 were randomly assigned to receive first-generation antipsychotics and 109 received second-generation antipsychotics. Patients were assessed at various times up to 56 weeks.
The researchers found that patients taking first-generation antipsychotics tended to have higher quality of life and symptom scores. Patients showed no clear preference for either class of drug. Costs were similar for both groups although costs tended to be lower for first-generation antipsychotics, with most of the cost consisting of psychiatric hospital inpatient admissions.
This and other studies "must lead to the conclusion that with the possible exception of clozapine, the second-generation antipsychotics are not the great breakthrough in therapeutics they were once thought to be; rather, they represent an incremental advance at best," Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., of Columbia University in New York City, writes in an accompanying editorial. "This underscores the urgent need for greater progress in developing novel therapeutics for schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders."
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