Newer Antipsychotics; Higher Risk. Second-generation antipsychotics raise the risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest, according to a new study in the January 15th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, but study authors put the odds of a sudden cardiac death at three-in-1,000 a year. Researchers expanded on earlier suggestions that the new generation agents disrupt the heart's rhythm by examining the medical records of about 44,000 patients who used first generation atypical antipsychotics, about 46,000 patients who used the newer class, and nearly 187,000 untreated controls. Results showed that second generation drug users were 2.26 times more likely to suffer from sudden cardiac death than those not taking the drugs. First generation users were 1.99 times more likely to die than those taking no antipsychotics.
This Month's Issue
Crystal Dixon, MD; Miguel Melo-Bicchi, MD; and Kottil W. Rammohan, MD