August 21, 2014 — The Annals of Internal Medicine has published a study linking the use of popular atypical antipsychotic drugs in older adults with an increased risk of hospitalization for acute kidney injury and other severe side effects.
Atypical antipsychotics include:
- Risperdal (risperidone)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
- Zyprexa (olanzapine)
Conclusions were based on a population-based cohort study involving 97,777 adults over the age of 65 who received a new prescription for an atypical antipsychotic drug. Each patient was matched with a similar patient who did not take the drug.
The researchers discovered that patients on antipsychotics were 73% more likely to be hospitalized with acute kidney injury during the first three months of treatment. When data was limited to patients with known blood creatinine levels, kidney injury occurred in 5.56% of patients on antipsychotics vs. 3.34% of patients not on the drugs.
Other serious side effects were also more likely in patients on antipsychotics. For example, there was a 91% higher rate of hypotension (low blood pressure), 98% higher rate of acute urinary retention, and the overall mortality risk was 2.4-times higher.
Patients on antipsychotics also had higher rates of neuroleptic malignant syndrome and rhabdomyolysis, which are two of the most serious known side effects of these drugs. Rhabdomyolysis is a type of muscle injury that can cause kidney injury and death.
The researchers concluded:
“The findings support current safety concerns about the use of these drugs in older adults.”