Antidepressants for bipolar depression: weighing up the benefits and harms


Murtada Alsaif considers a recent systematic review on the safety and efficacy of adjunctive second-generation antidepressant therapy with a mood stabiliser or an atypical antipsychotic in acute bipolar depression.

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Antipsychotic efficacy measured by real-world observational study


Tracey Roberts examines whether a retrospective observational study accurately investigates the effectiveness of second and first generation antipsychotics.

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Schizophrenia, antipsychotics and quality of life: measuring the important things


Samei Huda mulls over a recent RCT on the effects of older and newer antipsychotics on quality of life in schizophrenia. The study finds a different result to the 10-year old CUTLASS trial; namely that second generation antipsychotics may be superior to first generation antipsychotics in terms of improving quality of life for people with schizophrenia.

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The antipsychotic drugs don’t work for anorexia nervosa

Refusing pills

Helen Bould appraises a recent meta-analysis of second-generation antipsychotics for anorexia nervosa, which finds that the drugs don’t lead to weight gain or improve eating disorder symptoms. So why are antipsychotics being used in this group of patients?

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Prescribing antipsychotics in primary care: new study highlights frequent off-label use


Josephine Neale reports on a recent cohort study that finds less than half of UK prescriptions for antipsychotics are issued for main licensed conditions (e.g. psychosis or bipolar disorder). The research provides a reminder about the dangers of prescribing antipsychotics to people with dementia.

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Newer antipsychotics may increase the risk of pneumonia in schizophrenia

Pneumonia x-ray

Because of a more favourable side effects profile (not necessarily clinical superiority), second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are today the most commonly used drugs to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (Jones et al., 2006). While rather frequent adverse reactions, including weight gain, diabetes or sedation, are largely recognised, recent studies point at increased risk of pneumonia [read the full story…]

German cohort study finds no support for superiority of atypical antipsychotics in schizophrenia

It is possible that those who were disengaging from interventions such as medication were less likely to take part in the study.

Schizophrenia according to the NICE guidelines, is a relatively common illness and in the majority of cases takes a chronic course, requiring continued management and careful attention.  In the treatment and management of schizophrenia, antipsychotic medications – like olanzapine, quetiapine or clozapine – are the first line intervention. Antipsychotics can be loosely divided into “first-generation” (“typical”) and [read the full story…]