Comparative mortality risks of antipsychotic medications in community-dwelling older adults

T. Gerhard, K. Huybrechts, M. Olfson, S. Schneeweiss, W. V. Bobo, P. M. Doraiswamy, D. P. Devanand, J. A. Lucas, C. Huang, E. S. Malka, R. Levin, S. Crystal

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39 Scopus citations


Background All antipsychotic medications carry warnings of increased mortality for older adults, but little is known about comparative mortality risks between individual agents. Aims To estimate the comparative mortality risks of commonly prescribed antipsychotic agents in older people living in the community. Method A retrospective, claims-based cohort study was conducted of people over 65 years old living in the community who had been newly prescribed risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, haloperidol, aripiprazole or ziprasidone (n = 136 393). Propensity score-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models assessed the 180-day mortality risk of each antipsychotic compared with risperidone. Results Risperidone, olanzapine and haloperidol showed a dose-response relation in mortality risk. After controlling for propensity score and dose, mortality risk was found to be increased for haloperidol (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.18, 95% CI 1.06-1.33) and decreased for quetiapine (HR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.73-0.89) and olanzapine (HR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.74-0.90). Conclusions Significant variation in mortality risk across commonly prescribed antipsychotics suggests that antipsychotic selection and dosing may affect survival of older people living in the community. Declaration of interest P.M.D. has received research grants and advisory/speaking fees from several pharmaceutical companies, including antipsychotic manufacturers, for other research. He owns stock in AdverseEvents Inc. which was not involved in this project. D.P.D. has received research support from Novartis AG and Eli Lilly and has served as a consultant to Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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