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Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk of Stroke

strokeA new study in the British Medical Journal suggests all drugs used to treat psychosis are linked to an increased risk of stroke, with dementia sufferers having double the risk.

Previous research has shown that second generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs can increase the chances of patients having a stroke. But the risk of stroke associated with first generation (typical) antipsychotics, and whether the risk differs in people with and without dementia, is not known.

Concerns about an increased risk of stroke among people taking atypical antipsychotic drugs were first raised in 2002, particularly in people with dementia. In 2004, the UK’s Committee on Safety of Medicines recommended that these drugs should not be used in people with dementia, despite a lack of clear evidence.

A team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, examined data from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), which contains the clinical information of more than six million patients registered at over 400 general practices in the UK.

They assessed the effect of exposure to antipsychotic medication on the incidence of stroke in 6 790 patients with a recorded incident of stroke and at least one prescription of any antipsychotic between January 1988 and the end of 2002.

The authors found that during periods when patients were receiving an antispychotic drug they were 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke, whereas people with dementia were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke whilst taking any antipsychotic.

The likelihood of having a stroke was slightly higher for people taking atypical antipsychotics than people taking typical antipsychotics.

The study did not look at the specific mechanisms linking antipsychotics and stroke or why the risk is greater with atypical antipsycotics.

Previously, the risk of stroke associated with typical antipsychotics was unclear, say the researchers, but “we have established that all types of antipsychotics carry an increased risk, although the risk might be somewhat higher with the atypical drugs.”

They conclude: “We reaffirm that the risks associated with antipsychotic use in patients with dementia generally outweigh the potential benefits, and in this patient group, use of antipsychotic drugs should be avoided wherever possible.”

Source: British Medical Journal

Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk of Stroke

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk of Stroke. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/08/29/antipsychotic-drugs-increase-risk-of-stroke/2850.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.