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Thursday 27th October 2016

Costly drugs 'no better'

29th November 2006

NHS-funded research has found that using expensive modern drugs to treat schizophrenia is no more effective than using those that have been around for decades.

Researchers compared the first generation anti-psychotic drugs with the second generation introduced in the 1990s. They concluded there was no clear benefit in taking the newer drugs despite them costing at least 10 times more.

The psychiatrists behind the research published their findings in the Archive of General Psychiatry. They say earlier research that found newer drugs were better, was funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

The team followed more than 200 patients who wanted to change their medicine to avoid side effects who were randomly assigned the old or new generation of drugs.

The researchers say in some cases, not only were the older drugs the same but sometimes ‘statistically’ better.

While the first generation drugs are still prescribed, new drugs are more common. Many of the older drugs are no longer patented, making them significantly cheaper.

NICE is set to review guidelines on the prescribing of these drugs next year.

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