Doctors and psychiatrists have been conned by the drug industry to prescribe new, or second-generation, antipsychotics for problems such as schizophrenia, two leading specialists have claimed.
The new generation of drugs, known as atypicals, were heralded as safer and more effective than the earlier antipsychotics, and for the past 20 years doctors have been 'beguiled' into thinking they were superior.
The claims come from Peter Tyrer and Tim Kendall from Imperial College London as a commentary on a new study that assessed the effectiveness of nine second-generation antipsychotics against earlier, typical antipsychotic drugs.
The study, conducted by Munich University, found that the second-generation drugs were not even a new class of drug at all, but were a hotchpotch made up from ingredients used in the earlier drugs. They certainly weren't more effective or safer.
In their commentary, Tyrer and Kendall say: "The spurious invention of the atypicals can now be regarded as invention only, cleverly manipulated by the drug industry for marketing purposes and only now being exposed."
(Source: Lancet, 2009; 373: 4-5; 31-41).