Human Brain & Mind

Off-label use of atypical antipsychotics do more harm than good

There are growing concerns that more antipsychotic drugs are prescribed by more physicians without regard to lawful indications and obvious toxic effects.

"According to Alexander and colleagues in the February 2011 issue of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, the estimated use of atypical antipsychotic medications for off-label indications, or without approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has rapidly increased. Commonly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications include quetiapine, risperidone, aripiprazole, olanzapine, asenapine, clozapine, iloperidone, paliperidone, and ziprasidone This systematic review and meta-analysis by Maher and colleagues assesses the efficacy and safety of atypical antipsychotic medication use for off-label indications of dementia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults. (Deborah Brauser, Penny Murata. Few Benefits, Significant Adverse Effects Linked With Off-Label Atypical Use. Medscape Education Clinical Briefs 10/05/2011.) Off-label prescriptions are used to treat conditions such as dementia, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Children and Senior are tow vulnerable populations that receive the most ill-advised prescriptions for antipsychotics.

Further Reading See

Avoid Antipsychotic Drugs Children
Avoid Antipsychotic Drugs Seniors

Based on a meta- analysis of 231 large observational studies were assessed adverse events and included at least 1000 patients each.

JAMA. 2011; 306:1359-1369.

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