August 21, 2014 — Adults over 65 years old who take antipsychotic drugs are more likely to develop kidney damage and other severe side effects, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Antipsychotic drugs included in the study:
- Risperdal (risperidone)
- Zyprexa (olanzapine)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
Conclusions were based on data from 97,777 adults aged 65 or older who were newly prescribed an oral atypical antipsychotic drug. These patients were matched 1:1 with patients who did not receive a prescription for the medications.
The primary outcome was a 73% increased rate of hospitalization for acute kidney injury within the first 90 days of prescription for atypical antipsychotic drugs. The side effect occurred in about 5.46% of patients on the drugs vs. 3.34% of patients who did not, according to data from patients whose blood creatinine levels were known.
Researchers also found a 91% increased risk of hypotension (low blood pressure), a 98% increased risk of acute urinary retention, and a 2.4-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality when compared to people who did not use an atypical antipsychotic drug.
The study also found higher rates of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a neurological disorder associated with antipsychotic drugs that causes high fever, sweating, unstable blood pressure, and other side effects within the first 2 weeks of taking the drug.
Some patients developed rhabdomyolysis, which is the breakdown of muscle fibers that can lead to kidney damage.
The authors of the study concluded, “The findings support current safety concerns about the use of these drugs in older adults.”