Risk of Mortality (including Sudden Cardiac Death) and Major Cardiovascular Events in Users of Olanzapine and Other Antipsychotics: A Study with the General Practice Research Database

Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2013;2013:647476. doi: 10.1155/2013/647476. Epub 2013 Dec 14.


Objective. Assess risk of cardiac events and mortality among users of olanzapine and other antipsychotics relative to nonusers. Methods. The General Practice Research Database was used to identify cohorts of antipsychotic users and nonusers with psychiatric illness. Outcomes included cardiac mortality, sudden cardiac death (SCD), all-cause mortality (excluding suicide), coronary heart disease (CHD), and ventricular arrhythmias (VA). Results. 183,392 antipsychotic users (including 20,954 olanzapine users) and 193,920 psychiatric nonusers were identified. There was a significantly higher rate of cardiac mortality (adjusted RR [aRR]: 1.53, CI, 1.12-2.09) in olanzapine users relative to psychiatric nonusers, consistent with findings for both atypical and typical antipsychotics. Relative to psychiatric nonusers, no increased risk of all-cause mortality was observed among olanzapine users (aRR: 1.04, CI, 0.93-1.17), but elevated all-cause mortality risk was observed when compared to all antipsychotic users (aRR: 1.75, CI, 1.64-1.87). There was no increased risk of CHD or VA among olanzapine users relative to psychiatric nonusers, consistent with findings for atypical but not typical antipsychotics. SCD cases were uncommon. Conclusions. Use of antipsychotic agents was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cardiac mortality. Patients treated with olanzapine were found to be at increased risk of cardiac mortality versus psychiatric nonusers.