Blog | Thursday, January 15, 2009

Meet the new drug...same as the old drug.

The NEJM has an article out today which dispels the notion that atypical antipsychotics have a lower cardiac risk than typical antipsychotics. Traditionally, the atypicals have been considered safer.

The rate of sudden cardiac death for people taking atypical antipsychotics was more than twice that of non-users-- actually a little higher than the rate for those taking typical antipsychotics. And the greater the dose, the greater the risk.

I'm wondering how relevant this study is to primary care internists. I know that, in addition to being used for schizophrenia, antipsychotics are often prescribed as adjunct therapy to offset the side effects of other psychiatric drugs, but I don't know if this is mostly a practice of psychiatrists, or if primary care doctors do this as well. Anyone care to weigh in on how this information about antipsychotics might be useful to internists?