San Diego-based Acadia Pharmaceuticals released their first and only drug, Nuplazid, to the market in June of 2016. Coined a “breakthrough therapy” at the time, the medication sought to relieve Parkinson’s disease patients of hallucinations and psychosis. Nuplazid was approved by the FDA through a special expedition process, which required fewer clinical trials. In fact, the drug was approved after only a six-week test of 200 patients. The FDA committee who approved the drug was swayed by testimonies from people whose loved ones were suffering from horrible hallucinations and distorted realities.
However, since Nuplazid was not properly tested, the panel had no way of knowing that the drug could be dangerous. Three of the studies presented to the FDA showed that the drug was not effective at treating what it was intended to.
Nevertheless, it went to market, where vulnerable patients soon found this out about unknown side effects. These included insomnia, vomiting, falling, and other dangerous complications.
Many doctors later contended that it worsened their patients’ conditions.
Worst of all, more than 700 patients have died since the drug was approved by the FDA. Some have opined that patients are twice as likely to die from Nuplazid than a placebo.
In the time since their drug’s approval, Acadia has made hundreds of millions of dollars. They have fired back at their critics, giving a number of rationales for Nuplazid’s unusually high amount of deaths.
Parkinson’s patients who do suffer from psychosis are, generally speaking, in the developed, most-severe stages of the disease. This means that they are at a higher chance of death as is. Additionally, these patients are suffering from other aliments associated with the disease and are taking other drugs with Nuplazid.
This may raise the mortality rate and complicate finding the true cause of death. This being said, professionals are rightfully concerned.
Thomas Moore, a senior scientist at the Institute for Safe Medical Practices, stated that the drug “might do more harm than good.”
CNN broke the story about Nuplazid’s high number of deaths. Read it [HERE].