Pfizer Schizophrenia Drug Wins U.S. OK for Bipolar
Mon 23 August, 2004 20:20

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc. said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved use of its Geodon schizophrenia drug to treat mania associated with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic-depressive illness, involves episodes of depression alternating with episodes of mania. It is believed to be hereditary and to affect about 2 percent of the population.

"We believe the bipolar indication will provide Geodon with continued strong sales growth," said Robert Hazlett, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. He predicted the medicine would post annual sales of $448 million this year, growing to nearly $700 million by 2007.

But Hazlett said a stronger starting dose of Geodon is used to treat bipolar than schizophrenia, leading to a higher incidence of side effects such as shaking, sleepiness and dizziness.

He said the higher rate of adverse events may limit potential sales of Geodon for bipolar disorder.

Medical groups have raised concerns that the class of antipsychotic drugs that include Geodon and Zyprexa, known as atypical antipsychotics, may cause weight gain and raise the risk of diabetes.

But Pfizer has said Geodon itself does not cause significant weight gains.