Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk

Antipsychotics, which had already given warning signals, increase the risk of developing heart disease by simply taking it for a few months, a new study.


Among patients treated with these drugs are schizophrenics, which usually have a shorter life expectancy, so you have to deal with the role of antipsychotics in heart disease, said Debra Foley, Center for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, Australia. It is known that the newer antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes.

According to a new study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, patients treated with antipsychotics tended to gain weight and suffer monthly increases in cholesterol after three or four months. Obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of heart disease.

“This modification of risk factors occurring early in treatment, within weeks of continuous use, but would last several years,” said Foley. “The risk varies depending on the drug and duration of therapy,” he said.

One in 100 American adults has schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But also prescribe antipsychotics to patients with bipolar disorder, personality disorders or anxiety, said Dr. Karen Graham, assistant professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, who did not participate in the study.

The drugs tested in the study team included Foley Risperdal (Janssen) and Zyprexa (Lilly), among others.

Some 28 million people received Zyprexa in the world and there is plenty of evidence on their safety in the use for which it was approved, said Lilly.

The team analyzed 25 previous studies on risk factors for heart disease in patients treated with antipsychotics new and old. These factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

In all studies, six to seven out of 10 users of antipsychotics were overweight at six months. Meanwhile, before therapy, four in 10 were overweight, as in the general population.

The team knows why these drugs increase the risk of heart disease, but Foley said that a recent study showed that alter the way the body handles cholesterol.

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