Lilly ignored Zyprexa safety data on weight, blood sugar

The New York Times reports that Eli Lilly initially ignored data gathered on clinical trials related to Zyprexa which showed that 16 percent of patients taking the schizophrenia drug gained more than 66 pounds. Instead, they focused on the results of a smaller group of trials that showed 30 percent of patients gaining 22 pounds. Initial data indicated that patients on Zyprexa were 3.5 times more likely to experience elevated blood sugar levels than volunteers taking a placebo. This new data is likely to fuel a years-long debate over whether Zyprexa is responsible for an elevated risk of diabetes, which is heavily influenced by weight gain and blood sugar levels. Lilly says no link has been established. Zyprexa earned more than $4 billion last year, representing almost a third of Eli Lilly's revenue.

This is the latest in a string of reports that Times' reporter Alex Berenson has put together from internal documents prepared by Eli Lilly and provided by an attorney representing mentally ill patients. The Times recently reported that Eli Lilly reps improperly promoted Zyprexa for dementia, even though it had not been approved for dementia. Using a drug for off-label indications is common, but drug companies are forbidden to promote them.

- read the New York Times article on Zyprexa

ALSO: Eli Lilly has halted studies of its brain cancer therapy Enzastaurin, saying it was no more effective that chemotherapy in treating the disease. Researchers will continue studies to see how effective it is as a therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Release

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