Antipsychotics and the Risks of Sudden Cardiac Death and All-Cause Death: Cohort Studies in Medicaid and Dually-Eligible Medicaid-Medicare Beneficiaries of Five States

Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology 09/2013; Suppl 10(6):1-9. DOI: 10.4172/2155-9880.S10-006
Source: PubMed


Antipsychotic drugs have been linked to QT-interval prolongation, a presumed marker of cardiac risk, and torsade de pointes.
To examine the associations between antipsychotics and 1) outpatient-originated sudden cardiac death and ventricular arrhythmia (SD/VA) and 2) all-cause death.
Two retrospective cohort studies.
Medicaid programs of California, Florida, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Incident antipsychotic users aged 30-75 years.
1) Incident, first-listed emergency department or principal inpatient SD/VA diagnoses; and 2) death reported in the Social Security Administration Death Master File.
Among 459,614 incident antipsychotic users, the incidences of SD/VA and death were 3.4 and 35.1 per 1,000 person-years, respectively. Compared to olanzapine as the referent, adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for SD/VA were 2.06 (95% CI, 1.20-3.53) for chlorpromazine, 1.72 (1.28-2.31) for haloperidol, and 0.73 (0.57-0.93) for quetiapine. Adjusted HRs for perphenazine and risperidone were consistent with unity. In a subanalysis limited to first prescription exposures, HRs for chlorpromazine and haloperidol were further elevated (2.54 [1.07-5.99] and 2.68 [1.59-4.53], respectively), with the latter exhibiting a dose-response relationship. Results for death were similar.
Haloperidol and chlorpromazine had less favorable cardiac safety profiles than olanzapine. Among atypical agents, risperidone had a similar cardiac safety profile to olanzapine, whereas quetiapine was associated with 30% and 20% lower risks of SD/VA and death, respectively, compared to olanzapine. These measured risks do not correlate well with average QT prolongation, further supporting the notion that average QT prolongation may be a poor surrogate of antipsychotic arrhythmogenicity.

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