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FDA Requests Boxed Warnings on Older Class of Antipsychotic Drugs

Posted Jun 21 2008 10:06am

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today exercised its new authority under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) to require manufacturers of “conventional” antipsychotic drugs to make safety-related changes to prescribing information, or labeling, to warn about an increased risk of death associated with the off-label use of these drugs to treat behavioral problems in older people with dementia.

In 2005, the FDA announced similar labeling changes for “atypical” antipsychotic drugs. At that time, Boxed Warnings, the FDA’s strongest, were added. The Boxed Warning will now be added to an older class of drugs known as “conventional” antipsychotics. The warning for both classes of drugs will say that clinical studies indicate that antipsychotic drugs of both types are associated with an increased risk of death when used in elderly patients treated for dementia-related psychosis.

“It is important that health care professionals and consumers have the most up-to-date drug safety information,” said Thomas Laughren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Division of Psychiatry Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The prescribing information for all antipsychotic drugs will be updated to describe the risk of death in elderly patients being treated for symptoms associated with dementia.”

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