Harvard Mental Health Letter

Antipsychotic drugs: The costs and benefits

More disappointing news has emerged from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE), a National Institute of Mental Health–funded project involving more than 1,400 patients with chronic schizophrenia. In its first phase, the study raised doubt whether the antipsychotic drugs that now dominate the market, called second-generation or atypical antipsychotics, are more effective or safer or have fewer side effects than older, less expensive drugs.

Further analysis, reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is confirming that the newer drugs may not offer enough benefits to justify their cost.

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