Antipsychotic drugs lead to blood clots

Saturday, April 02, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: antipsychotic drugs, blood clots, health news

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(NaturalNews) New research out of the U.K. adds to the growing body of evidence highlighting the dangers of antipsychotic drugs. Data gathered from tens of thousands of patient records reveals that popular antipsychosis drugs like AstraZeneca's Seroquel, Eli Lilly's Zyprexa, Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Abilify, can cause severe blood clots in patients.

After accounting for other risk factors, researchers determined that such drugs increase blood clot risk by an average of 32 percent. AstraZeneca's Seroquel, however, was found to be the worst of all, increasing blood clot risk by a whopping 300 percent. And in general, people taking atypical antipsychotic drugs are roughly 73 percent more likely to develop blood clots than people who do not.

"I would consider this an important, but modest increase in risk," explained Julia Hippisley-Cox, MD, from the the University of Nottingham, to WebMD. She says the study adds to the "accumulating evidence of adverse health events associated with antipsychotics."

She also explained that antipsychotic drugs are routinely prescribed for off-label uses such as to treat nausea, vertigo and the "agitation" associated with Alzheimer's disease. Off-label prescribing is not explicitly illegal, but it is highly unethical and threatens the health of patients.

"These drugs are not approved for this use, but they are frequently used," she went on to say. "I think it is clear these drugs are prescribed too often for these off-label uses."

Previous studies have linked antipsychotic drugs to blood clot conditions like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, while others have shown that they can cause diabetes and even early death. Earlier this year, AstraZeneca paid out a$198 million to settle legal claims from 17,500 patients who were injured by Seroquel.

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