It’s mid-May, so it must be time for the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, or as we like to call them, the “little APA” (because it has one-third the membership of the American Psychological Association). And with its annual meeting comes the annual flurry of press releases sent to us to alert us to all the fascinating new studies announced that find that existing medications are useful for a whole bunch of other things too! Yay!
A study was presented today by Charles Schulz, MD, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School about our good friend, Seroquel, in its latest form, Seroquel XR. (On a side note, XR is pharma-speak for “extended release,” but of course they couldn’t call it “ER,” so the marketers made it more friendly for us to say. The joke in the industry is that these versions of drugs are known as the “extended revenues” version of the medication for the company.)
Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) was recently approved by the FDA on May 17, 2007 for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. Specifically, the new version is more effective versus placebo in adult patients with an acute exacerbation of symptoms of schizophrenia. The quote?
The once-daily dosing of Seroquel XR may help patients by providing simpler and more convenient treatment plans, which can be an important component of overall disease management. In addition, patients can achieve a dose within the recommended range as early as the second day of treatment with Seroquel XR.
Daily-dosing is a lot more convenient than taking medications a few times a day (especially for people who are forgetful).
Another release lets us know that,
In adults with major depressive disorder, adding aripiprazole to antidepressant therapy (ADT) resulted in significant improvement in the primary endpoint, the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) Total Score. In this six-week, randomized, placebo-controlled study, the atypical antipsychotic aripiprazole (Abilify) was added to antidepressants in patients who did not have an adequate response to ADT alone. (1)(Berman, 2007, APA Poster) These findings are from one of two completed studies evaluating adjunctive aripiprazole with ADT.
Just so you know — docs will now start adding Abilify to their prescription regimen not just for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but also for depression itself. The most common side effect of Abilify versus placebo? Akathisia — an often extremely unpleasant subjective sensation of “inner” restlessness that manifests itself with an inability to sit still or remain motionless. One in four people taking Abilify complain of this side effect.
That’s it for now.