Dose of caution: New antipsychotic meds produce muted benefits

8:30am, February 7, 2002

The past decade has witnessed a wave of new medications to treat schizophrenia, a debilitating mental disorder that afflicts 1 in 100 people. Armed with results from their own studies, various pharmaceutical companies tout the new drugs, the so-called atypical antipsychotics, as superior to traditional antipsychotic drugs in the battle against schizophrenia.

However, it may be time to lower expectations for atypical antipsychotics. A new investigation, funded largely by the federal government, finds that treatment with any of three of these medications diminishes chronic schizophrenia symptoms only slightly more than a traditional antipsychotic drug does.

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