Antipsychotic Drugs & Cardiac Death - Consumer Justice Foundation

Antipsychotic Drugs & Cardiac Death

Written by Faith Anderson on June 20, 2013
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Potentially Deadly Side Effects Linked to Antipsychotics

Researchers involved in the antipsychotic study examined data from the Oregon Sudden Unexplained Death Study, an ongoing project analyzing 1,544 cases of sudden cardiac death and 774 controls. Among those who suffered sudden cardiac death, 8.2% were taking an antipsychotic medication at the time of death, compared to only 1.9% of the subjects in the control group. Most of the cases involved the use of atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal, which are a newer class of medications touted as having fewer side effects than first-generation antipsychotics like chlorpromazine (Thorazine). Risperdal is one of the most widely-used antipsychotic drugs on the market in the United States, commonly used as a treatment for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder.

Three-Times Increased Risk of Death With Antipsychotic Use

During the course of the antipsychotic study, researchers found no connection found between just having schizophrenia and experiencing sudden cardiac death, but did find that taking first- or second-generation antipsychotics resulted in a more than three-times increased risk of sudden cardiac death. These study findings echo previous concerns about the widespread use of atypical antipsychotics, particularly among elderly individuals and those in nursing homes, where the drugs have been inappropriately used as a form of chemical restraint. In May 2012, an alarming report by the Boston Globe found that roughly 185,000 nursing home residents were prescribed antipsychotic drugs in 2010, even though they had none of the conditions for which the medications had been approved by the FDA to treat.

Contact a Skilled Attorney for Legal Help

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of atypical antipsychotics, and the FDA and other health experts have warned against the use of the medications in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, due to an increased risk of death for these individuals. Despite these safety issues however, Risperdal and other antipsychotics continue to rule the pharmaceutical drug market, with approximately two-thirds of all prescriptions being written for the newer atypical antipsychotic medications. If you took Risperdal and have since experienced a major side effect, or if you lost a loved one to a fatal complication, consult a qualified lawyer in your area with experience litigating drug injury cases. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can pursue by filing a product liability claim against the drug manufacturing company.


Posted Under: United States
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