Latest Issue of Science News



Science Ticker

Your daily roundup of research news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Newer schizophrenia drug isn’t necessarily better

Sponsor Message

Guest post by Laura Sanders

An injectable form of a newer, more expensive schizophrenia drug works no better than an older drug, scientists report May 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a randomized clinical trial of 311 people with schizophrenia, injections of paliperidone palmitate failed to alleviate schizophrenia symptoms just as often as did injections of haloperidol decanoate, a drug that’s been around for decades.

A single injection of paliperidone palmitate, a second-generation antipsychotic, costs about $1000 in the United States. An injection of haloperidol costs only about $35.

The two drugs caused different side effects: In some patients, haloperidol led to muscle tremors and restlessness and paliperidone palmitate caused weight gain. Knowledge of these different side effects — and not differences in effectiveness — might be useful in deciding which drug a person ought to take.  

More Biomedicine articles