Lilly Caves, Agrees To Add Warnings To Schizophrenia Drug

Zyprexa, Lilly’s best-selling drug to treat schizophrenia, has been shown to cause “cause weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other metabolic problems,” but until now, the company has refused to add any warnings about these side effects to the label. Now, sparked in part by lower sales, Lilly has announced that Zyprexa will warn consumers that it can cause high blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association claims that Zyprexa causes diabetes, but this isn’t addressed on the new warning labels.

Lilly has spent $1.2 billion since 2004 to settle lawsuits from 28,500 people who claimed they developed diabetes or heart problems after taking the drug, although Lilly says that Zyprexa has never been proven to cause diabetes. At least 1,200 more lawsuits are still pending.

“Atypical antipsychotic” medicines like Zyprexa are one of the industry’s most profitable drug lines, but according to the article, there’s little evidence that they’re more effective than older, generic medicines “that cost just pennies a pill.”

“Lilly Adds Label Warnings for Mental Illness Drug” [New York Times]