Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Combined Use of Two Psychiatric Drugs Ups Cardiac Death Rate

Combined use of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs was associated with a greater risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) during a coronary event than was found in people not using such drugs, said a study in the European Heart Journal. Data from 2,732 people who died of SCD showed that 9.7 percent of patients in the sudden-death group had used antipsychotics, compared with 2.4 percent in the control group, while 8.6 percent of patients in the sudden-death group had used antidepressants, compared with 5.5 percent of controls. The effect was significant among patients using tricyclic antidepressants, but not selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

“That clearly shows us that the mental disorder itself was not the reason for the association, but rather that it was the drugs used to treat these patients that made sudden cardiac death more probable,” said Heikki Huikuri, M.D., the study’s principal investigator. The results show the need for cardiologists and psychiatrists to coordinate care of patients with symptoms usually treated by either specialty.

To read more about the association between sudden cardiac death and psychiatric medications, see Psychiatric News.

(Image: Sebastian


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