Monday, November 27, 2006

Brits Jump on CUtLASS -- Finally!

Apparently, the British press has decided that a study showing equivalent efficacy between first and second generation antipsychotic meds is worthy of discussion a few weeks (about seven weeks, actually) after the publication of the study. The American media: nowhere to be found, of course, with the possible exception of the New York Times.

Over at Furious Seasons, you’ll find a good synopsis of some of the larger issues surrounding atypicals. I believe many readers will find his points of interest. Teaser below…

"This is now the third study in about a year to knockdown the prevailing orthodoxy that atypicals reduce symptoms better than first-generation antipsychotics and that the atypicals are so kinder and gentler with the side effects. I have discussed the CATIE study here and here.

All of these studies combined raise serious questions. Here are a few:

Why do pharma companies continue to charge anywhere from 8 to 20 times as much for atypicals as they do for older antipsychotics? Because they can and no one will question them on it.

Why do doctors continue to insist, in the face of compelling data, that atypicals are great? Because they can and no one will question them on it.

Why did NAMI National put out a press release and organize a teleconference for reporters soon after this Archives of General Psychiatry study called the status of atypicals into account? Because they can and no one will question them on it. And, NAMI National gets a lot of money each year from pharma companies. Any connection?

Why have these same atypicals suddenly become frontline treatments in treating bipolar disorder, despite a profound lack of independent evidence showing that these meds are good for schizophrenics and that those poor folks can barely tolerate taking them? Why would they suddenly become so "good" for bipolars? Hell, they don't even reduce re-hospitalization rates compared to only taking a mood stabilizer. Bipolars don't particularly fancy these meds, either, as I pointed out last year.

Why are we now giving them to children? Why are their parents going along for the ride?"

For much more, interested readers should take a hike over to the post at Furious Seasons.

For my take on the CUtLASS study, feel free to read here.

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