Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs Increases Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

Patients aged 30 to 74 years who took atypical antipsychotics such as risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and clozapine (Clozaril) had a significantly higher risk of sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias and other cardiac causes than patients who did not take these medications, according to a study published in the January 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This study provides critical information about the safety of atypical antipsychotics that can be used to make important treatment decisions for patients," said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, Rockville, Maryland.

"These findings will help clinicians and patients weigh the risks versus the benefits of these drugs before prescribing them for treatment of depression or other off-label uses for other conditions."


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