Antipsychotic drug use and community-acquired pneumonia

Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2011 Jun;13(3):262-8. doi: 10.1007/s11908-011-0175-y.


Antipsychotics are generally distinguished as atypical and typical agents, which are indicated in the treatment of acute and chronic psychoses and other psychiatric disorders. In April 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the increased risk of all-cause mortality associated with atypical antipsychotic use in elderly patients with dementia. Pneumonia was one of the most frequently reported causes of death. The same warning was extended to typical antipsychotics in June 2008. In recent years, several observational studies have further explored the association between antipsychotic use, mainly in elderly patients, and the risk of fatal/nonfatal community-acquired pneumonia. The aim of this review is to revise and discuss the scientific evidence and biologic explanations for the association between atypical and typical antipsychotic use and pneumonia occurrence. Some general recommendations to clinicians are proposed to prevent the risk of pneumonia in patients requiring antipsychotic treatment.