April’s issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry also features an editorial by Carol A. Tamminga, M.D., who writes:

That these studies were NIMH-funded increases our confidence that they are as free from marketing or other bias or “spin” as possible. However, we do notice that the results of the CATIE studies, although broader and denser than our previous knowledge, are confirmatory of the efficacy and side effect data that we already know—data derived from pharmaceutical studies. This observation should increase our confidence in the results of drug registration studies, limited as they are to the comparative efficacy of one (possibly two) compounds.

Most of the editorial is about what the two new studies I wrote about a couple weeks ago:

There has not been a previous set of treatment studies that has so clearly shown the tradeoffs for persons who need antipsychotic medication. There is no clear “winner” among the second generation of antipsychotics, weighing effectiveness and efficacy against side effects, nor a clear “loser.” It is only clozapine that is superior, although its side effects are clearly challenging. These data make it abundantly clear that the risks and benefits of any single medication need to be weighed individually with each patient, and that side effect risk needs to be weighed repeatedly during treatment.

and she goes on to say that more research, especially collaborative research, is needed if we’re to better understand the disorder and how to treat it:

The time is right for innovative collaborations between clinicians, basic and translational neuroscientists, and industry to identify research strategies and successful molecular understanding, thereby promoting rational treatments. Moreover, the field must create and sustain teams of people to test innovative treatments, represented most recently by the CATIE consortium.