Antipsychotic Drugs Boost Stroke Risk

ABC News: Patients with dementia face a more than 3-fold danger

Concerns about the risk of stroke and antipsychotics were first raised in 2002, especially in people with dementia. In 2004, Britain’s Committee on Safety of Medicines recommended that antipsychotics not be used in people with dementia. And, in 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered manufacturers of atypical antipsychotics to add a black box warning to their products about the increased risk for stroke...

Both typical (first generation) and atypical (second generation) antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of stroke, Douglas said. “This risk is substantially higher in patients with dementia than those without. These findings need to be factored into prescribing decisions made by doctors caring for patients with often-distressing and difficult-to-treat psychiatric symptoms.”

For the study, Douglas and his colleague Liam Smeeth, a professor of clinical epidemiology, collected data on 6,790 patients who had suffered a stroke and were taking antipsychotic drugs. Patients taking antipsychotic drugs were 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke, and patients with dementia taking antipsychotics were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke.

The risk for stroke was slightly higher for people taking the newer atypical antipsychotics, compared with people taking the older typical antipsychotics. Atypical antipsychotics include drugs such as Abilify, Clozaril and Zyprexa. Typical antipsychotics include Thorazine, Haldol and Clopixol.



The Daily Mirror
Antipsychotic drugs found to double stroke risk


People taking antipsychotic drugs are nearly twice as likely to have a stroke compared to those not on the treatment, British researchers reported on Friday.The risk is even higher — about 3.5 times — for men and women with dementia, which means doctors should only prescribe such medicine to these patients as a last resort, the researchers said.

Previously, stroke risk associated with older antipsychotic drugs was unclear but the study published in the British Medical Journal showed both old and new treatments carry increased risk.

“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 whenever possible,” Ian Douglas and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote.”

The researchers looked at the medical records of nearly 7,000 men and women and recorded the incidence of stroke among those who at some point had taken antipsychotic drugs.  They found that they were 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke and that the risk was much higher if people had dementia… The most widely used newer drug in the study was Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, the researchers said.

Other newer drugs in the study included Eli Lilly and Co’s Zyprexa, or olanzapine, Sanofi-Aventis’ Solian, or amisulpride and AstraZeneca Plc’s Seroquel, known generically as quetiapine.


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