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Antipsychotic Drugs Increase the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom say antipsychotic drugs increase the risk of developing serious blood clot. Although the medications are also useful against nausea, vertigo and vomiting, researchers warned that their use can potentially cause venous thromboembolism—a condition that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Led by Dr. Julia Hippisley-Cox, the researchers gathered data derived from over 25,500 individuals who suffered pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis from 1996 to 2007. Thereafter, they matched their findings with 89,400 individuals who hadn’t developed either of those conditions.

The results revealed that those who took antipsychotic drugs had an increased risk for venous thromboembolism by 32 percent. On the other hand, the risk was higher for those who had just started taking the medication. In addition, the risk was also greater for people who took atypical antipsychotics and low-potency drugs instead of the conventional medications.

“The increased risk was more marked among new users and those prescribed atypical antipsychotic drugs,” the researchers said.

In deep vein thrombosis, there is a danger that a blood clot could break loose and stray into the lungs. This can cause difficulty in breathing or even death. Accordingly, the researchers warned that patients should carefully weigh the risks associated with the use of antipsychotic drugs.

However, Dr. Rosa Liperoti, of the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome, Italy, stated, “The absolute individual risk of venous thromboembolism for a subject taking antipsychotics is low.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged that further research is needed to identify people who are particularly at a high risk of getting venous thromboembolism.

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