Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Food and Drug Administration warned doctors Monday that prescribing a certain group of psychiatric drugs to seniors suffering from dementia can increase their risk of death. Antipsychotic drugs are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disease, but doctors frequently prescribe them to treat elderly patients with dementia. FDA's announcement was an update to a 2005 action, when regulators added warnings about increased heart attacks and pneumonia to drugs called atypical antipsychotics. The medicines include blockbusters like Eli Lilly & Co.'s Zyprexa and Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal. FDA said Monday those same risks apply to 11 older drugs known as typical antipsychotics, including Pfizer's Navane and Endo Pharmaceutical's Moban. The drugs were developed in the 1950s and have largely been replaced by the newer medications, which are believed to have fewer side effects, such as tremors.