Warnings of increased risk of death and vascular adverse events associated with off-label use of antipsychotics among the elderly surfaced in 2002. These medications may boost the risk of stroke, suggests a new study.
It found that the odds of stroke were 1.8 times higher during time exposed to antipsychotic medications than during time unexposed. This effect was greater among older veterans.
The researchers analyzed data from the Veterans Health Administration on inpatient hospitalizations for ischemic stroke between 2002 and 2007.
The study included 511 stroke cases; 85% had taken antipsychotic medications in the 30 days prior to their stroke and 15% had taken them 90 to 120 days before their stroke.
The researchers recommend antipsychotic therapy among the elderly be initiated only after alternative strategies of dealing with symptoms of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia have been investigated fully.
To learn more see Wang et al. (2012). Age, antipsychotics, and the risk of ischemic stroke in the Veterans Health Administration. Stroke, 43(1), 28-31.