A Call for Caution on Antipsychotic Drugs

The number of annual prescriptions for atypical antipsychotics rose to 54 million in 2011 from 28 million in 2001, a 93 percent increase, according to IMS Health. One study found that the use of these drugs for indications without federal approval more than doubled from 1995 to 2008. In a column in The New York Times, Dr. Richard Bernstein notes that originally experts believed the new drugs were more effective than the older antipsychotics against such symptoms of schizophrenia. However, several recent large randomized studies failed to show that the new antipsychotics were any more effective or better tolerated than the older drugs.