See Inside December 2005

Schizophrenia Drugs Questioned

Donald F. Klein of Columbia University remembers handing out the first pills for schizophrenia in 1955, when the only treatment was electroshock therapy. One patient, an institutionalized war veteran who had not spoken in decades, swallowed the medication and a few days later suddenly asked, “When am I getting out of this place?”

According to a new study, this early class of drugs may work just as well at reducing hallucinations and delusions as modern pills that cost up to 10 times more. In the early 1990s the new medications, such as Zyprexa and Seroquel, took over, promising greater effectiveness and less debilitating side effects, including tremors. The federal government sponsored the $43-million study as a check against the results of previous tests that had been sponsored by drug companies and as a way to evaluate Medicaid’s payout for high-priced schizophrenia medication, one of the program’s biggest expenses.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article