FDA Issues Public Health Advisory for Antipsychotic Drugs used for Treatment of Behavioral Disorders in Elderly Patients

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a public health advisory to alert health care providers, patients, and patient caregivers to new safety information concerning an unapproved (i.e., “off-label") use of certain drugs called “atypical antipsychotic drugs.” These drugs are approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and mania, but clinical studies of these drugs to treat behavioral disorders in elderly patients with dementia have shown a higher death rate associated with their use compared to patients receiving a placebo (sugar pill). Today’s advisory applies to such antipsychotic drugs as Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel (quetiapine), Risperdal (risperidone), Clozaril (clozapine) and Geodon (ziprasidone). Symbyax, which is approved for treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder is also included in the agency’s advisory.
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/2005/ANS01350.html