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Atypical antipsychotics linked to cardiac death

Executive Summary

Treatment with atypical antipsychotics like Lilly's Zyprexa (olanzapine), AstraZeneca's Seroquel (quetiapine) and risperidone (Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal and generics) resulted in sudden cardiac death at twice the rate as that seen in patients who did not take the drugs in a retrospective cohort study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine Jan. 15. Atypical antipsychotics, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have long been considered safer alternatives to older typical antipsychotic medicines. The retrospective analysis, however, found the incidence rate ratios among users of atypical antipsychotics (1.59 for low doses to 2.46 for higher doses) to be similar to that seen among users of typical antipsychotics. The research, funded by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, could have implications for how the drugs are used for depression or other off-label uses

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