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Rutgers receives $2.3 million federal grant to research use, safety of antipsychotics
Date:10/21/2008

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has received a $2.3 million grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lead a major study of use, safety and effectiveness of antipsychotic medications.

These medications have come to be widely used in a clinically diverse population, including many children and adolescents with such behavioral disorders as aggression and elderly persons with symptoms of dementia, as well as adults with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses. Use of antipsychotic medications has increased and broadened with the advent of newer, "atypical" antipsychotic drugs perceived as safer than older drugs, according to principal investigator Professor Stephen Crystal of Rutgers' Center for Health Services Research on Pharmacotherapy, Chronic Disease Management, and Outcomes.

However, as the AHRQ and FDA noted in their request for applications, evidence remains incomplete on safety and effectiveness in various subpopulations of patients treated with these medications, Crystal said. Areas of particular concern include use in youth and in the elderly. Crystal, whose center is a unit of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IHHCPAR), said that Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University are partners in the Rutgers-led consortium.

Investigative teams will conduct three substudies using large, linked health care datasets. The first will focus on outcomes in the institutionalized elderly to examine medical outcomes, such as mortality, stroke, myocardial infarction, as well as cognitive function and behavioral symptoms of dementia. The Rutgers team will expand a research dataset developed through the AHRQ-funded Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics, to support analyses by Harvard and Rutgers investigators on medica
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Contact: Steven Manas
smanas@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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