A few weeks ago the Mainichi News on-line reported the following:
毎日新聞 2014年04月17日 19時21分（最終更新 04月17日 20時20分）
On the 17th (April) the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that the number of patients who had died after using a schizophrenia curing medicine "Zepurion" went up to 21 people in five months after the sale was started in November last year. Although the causal relationship with the medicine was not known, the said Ministry directed the Janssen Pharmaceutical (Chiyoda-district Tokyo) as the manufacturing and selling agency to revise the doctor-oriented package leaflet so as to stop the administration of medication to patients who would become unstable when two or more anti-psychotics were used at the same time, and also to avoid excessive dosage; and directed that the medical institutions should be cautious.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, this medicine was injected into the muscle, such as the shoulder, once in four weeks to suppress the condition. In estimation about 10,900 people had used it by the 15th of this month (April). A feature was that the effect would continue for a long time.
It became clear from the investigation that after marketing by the drug company up to the 16th of this month 21 men and women in their 20-70s had died after using it. The cause of death besides myocardial infarction (kousoku), pneumonia, and multiple organ failure, there were also suffocation by a vomiting (outo) object and suicide etc. Death incidents started from several days to 100 days or more after taking the medicine.
While this medicine was mainly for patient with stable symptoms, there were cases that medication began when the condition was getting worse, or two or more anti-psychotics were used together. There was also a case that an excessive dosage was given.
Although this medicine had been used in more than 60 countries and regions by the end of 2012, it was said that there was not many examples of large amount of death being reported within a short period of time, such as this time.
It is an interesting medical incident. The Japanese government is doing a good job in drawing doctors’ attention.