Newer doesn’t always mean better. A study done in part at the University of Iowa on schizophrenia medications finds certain older, less expensive drugs worked generally as well as newer medications. U-of-I psychiatry professor Del Miller was the lead researcher and says another element of the study was unexpected. Dr. Miller says the biggest surprise was that there was no solid winner in the trial. Most people expected there to be one or two drugs that were clearly better than the others and that wasn’t the case. Miller says about one-percent of the population has the mental disorder schizophrenia, often characterized with hallucinations and delusions. He says the research study yielded more unexpected results. The other surprise was that the one older medication that was included in the trial, perphenazine was really “about as good as the others.” Plus, it cost less. The perception was that newer, more-researched drugs would be more effective than perphenazine, which has been in use for treating schizophrenia since the 1950s. Miller says this was an important study for two primary reasons. He says all previous studies of schizophrenia medications had been funded by the pharmaceutical industry, while this one paid for by the federal government. Also, he says it was the first study to incorporate all of the newer medications head-to-head with one of the older meds. The study is being published by the New England Journal of Medicine on September 22nd.
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