The AP(10/29, http://tinyurl.com/latuda1) reports The Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals to treat adults with schizophrenia. Schizohrenia affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population, causing hallucinations, paranoia and delusions. The FDA approved Sunovion’s drug Latuda based on four studies that showed patients taking the drug had fewer schizophrenia symptoms than patients taking a placebo pill. Latuda is part of the atypical antipsychotics drug class, which also includes Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa, Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal and AstraZeneca’s Seroquel. Those drugs were the top-selling group of prescription drugs in the U.S. last year, with combined sales of $14.6 billion. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is based in Fort Lee, N.J. and is the U.S. subsidiary of Japanese drugmaker Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co.
“Latuda is an oral, once-daily atypical antipsychotic, offering a first-line treatment option for patients with schizophrenia and is expected to be available in the US during the first quarter of 2011,” Marlborough-based Sunovion said. Sunovion recently changed its name from Sepracor, a company known for its Lunesta sleep aid. A year ago, Sepracor was acquired by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., a Japanese drug maker.