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New Schizophrenia Drug

Abilify has fewer side effects

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Bristol-Meyers Squibb drug Abilify (aripiprazole) for the treatment of schizophrenia, the company says in a press release.

In clinical studies involving 1,238 schizophrenic patients, Abilify was found to cause minimal weight change and sleepiness, and fewer extrapyramidal symptoms -- characterized by involuntary muscle movement.

While older drugs to treat the disease had many side effects, Abilify -- among a new class of medications called atypical antipsychotics -- is said to cause fewer problems.

Schizophrenia affects more than 2 million Americans, interfering with a person's ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. Other symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and social withdrawal.

The once-daily oral tablet will be available in 10 mg., 15 mg. and 30 mg. strengths within two weeks, the company says. It did not mention an approximate cost.

Here is the Bristol-Meyers Squibb press release announcing the FDA approval. For more information about schizophrenia, visit the National Institute of Mental Health.

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