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Kenneth J. Bender, PharmD, MA

Kenneth J. Bender, PharmD, MA

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The NIMH-sponsored New Clinical Drugs Evaluation Unit (NCDEU) meeting is a favored venue for reports and reviews of NIH-funded psychopharmacological studies, and this was true of the recent annual meeting in Hollywood, Fla. The meeting included a workshop on new investigations of antidepressant use in Alzheimer disease and a panel session on the safety of pharmacotherapy in older adults.

Smoking cessation services should be integrated into substance use disorder treatment programs, according to David Kalman, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts, and colleagues, in their recent review of tobacco dependency among patients who sought treatment for alcoholism.1

The FDA recently approved iloperidone (Fanapt, Vanda Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of schizophrenia, reversing a July 2008 determination that the New Drug Application (NDA) was “not approvable.” An FDA spokesperson explained in an interview in Forbes (May 8), “Vanda provided the FDA with additional data and arguments that led us to reinterpret results of several of their studies.”

Second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs may not have an advantage for cardiovascular risk over typical antipsychotics, according to a recent, large retrospective cohort study. Researchers at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee found that risk of sudden cardiac death is heightened with antipsychotics, whether typical or atypical, and the risk increases significantly with increasing doses.

Mortality in elderly patients with dementia markedly and progressively increases with extended use of antipsychotics, according to the first long-term controlled study of risk in this population. Earlier evidence of this risk was from short-term trials not exceeding 14 weeks.

Patients who have had a myo­cardial infarction (MI) should
be screened and appropriately treated for depression, according to a guideline recently issued by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).1 The group recommends use of a standardized depression symptom checklist during hospitalization and “at regular intervals” thereafter.

Anew study shows that the rate of remission in adolescents treated for depression for 36 weeks was more than double that of adolescents treated for 12 weeks, whether treatment was with an antidepressant, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or a com­bination of both.1

Patients with bipolar depression who exhibit even minimal manic symptoms are at heightened risk for switching into mania if they receive antidepressant medication, according to a new report from the Bipolar Collaborative Network.

Mortality in elderly patients with dementia markedly and progressively increases with extended use of antipsychotics, according to the first long-term controlled study of risk in this population. Earlier evidence of this risk was from short-term trials not exceeding 14 weeks.

Are serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 related to the onset of dementia? Can depression be prevented with folate, vitamin B12, and B6 supplementation? Two recent studies shed light on these questions.

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