Zyprexa News: Antipsychotic Drugs Raise Diabetes Risk

Antipsychotic Drugs Raise Diabetes Risk

Reuters - Toni Clarke

01/27/04 - Four prominent medical organizations warned on Tuesday that a widely prescribed class of antipsychotic drugs increase the risk of diabetes, echoing concerns raised by U.S. regulators and researchers.

The American Diabetes Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity joined forces in a statement published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

The drugs, known as atypical antipsychotics, are used to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, psychotic depression, autism and developmental disorders and generate more than $8 billion a year.

The panel of organizations said the drugs may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol, all of which raise the chances of developing heart disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 told makers of the drugs to include these risks in product labels. Few companies have complied.

This is the first time such a wide body of medical associations has formally expressed concern about the drugs. The move could potentially alter the relative market share of the drugs involved, which account for the bulk of a global schizophrenia medications market.

The market for atypical anti-psychotics is divided between six main products: Novartis AG's Clozaril; Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal; Eli Lilly and Co.'s Zyprexa; AstraZeneca Plc's Seroquel; Pfizer Inc.'s Geodon and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Abilify.

Zyprexa has annual sales of some $4 billion and accounts for about half Lilly's profit. The company said it is not clear whether there is a direct link between its drug and diabetes. AstraZeneca said the same about Seroquel. Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's drugs do not appear to have the same risks, doctors have said, though Pfizer's carries the risk of a condition that can lead to a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.

The panel's report cited Zyprexa and Clozaril as the drugs most likely to increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes and lipid disorders.

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