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The World in Medicine
May 19, 2010

Antipsychotics and Pneumonia

JAMA. 2010;303(19):1908. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.634

The use of antipsychotic drugs in community-dwelling older adults appears to be associated with an increased risk of potentially fatal pneumonia, according to researchers in the Netherlands (Trifirò G et al. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152[7]:418-425).

Because previous research that found an association between antipsychotics and pneumonia had involved only hospitalized patients, the researchers sought to determine whether these drugs posed a pneumonia risk for elderly patients living in the community. The nested case-control study involved 258 patients aged 65 years or older who were new users of an antipsychotic drug and who developed community-acquired pneumonia and 1686 matched controls. Compared with past use of antipsychotic drugs, current use of either typical or atypical antipsychotic drugs was associated with a dose-dependent increase in risk for developing pneumonia, a risk that was highest during the first week of treatment.