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Posts Tagged ‘hallucinations’

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.

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The U.K.’s Telegraph (1/14, Devlin) reports that, according to a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, “drinking just three cups of brewed coffee a day can triple the chances of suffering from hallucinations,” and “even moderate amounts of the stimulant” caffeine “can lead people to hear voices and see things that are not there.” Researchers from the U.K.’s Durham University “warn that ‘high caffeine users'” may be at “increased risk.”
        For the study, the investigators “asked 219 students to document their caffeine intake, working on the principle that a cup of instant coffee contains 45 mg of caffeine,” the U.K.’s Daily Mail (1/14) adds. “Healthy young men and women who had more than seven cups of instant coffee a day were three times more likely to hear or see things that were not there than those who limited their intake to less than a cup.” In fact, “large amounts of caffeine also made people more likely to think they could sense the presence of ghosts.” The team theorized that “caffeine boosts levels of cortisol, a stress hormone,” and suggested that “confirming the link could lead to new treatments for those who suffer severe hallucinations, including” people with schizophrenia, “some victims of child abuse, and the recently bereaved.” Bloomberg News (1/14, Kresge), Canada’s CTV (1/14), and the U.K.’s Press Association (1/14) also cover the story.

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