Associations between antipsychotics and the risk of incident cardiovascular diseases in individuals with schizophrenia: a nested case-control study

BMJ Ment Health. 2023 Jun;26(1):e300501. doi: 10.1136/bmjment-2022-300501.


Background: The association between antipsychotics and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remains significant yet unestablished, especially in Chinese populations.

Objective: To investigate the risk of CVDs associated with antipsychotics among Chinese individuals with schizophrenia.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study on individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia in Shandong, China. The case group included individuals diagnosed with incident CVDs between 2012 and 2020. Each case was randomly matched with up to three controls. We used weighted logistic regression models to assess the risk of CVDs associated with antipsychotics and restricted cubic spline analysis to explore the dose-response relationship.

Findings: In total, 2493 cases and 7478 matched controls were included in the analysis. Compared with non-users, any antipsychotics use was associated with higher risk of any CVDs (weighted OR=1.54, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.79), with the risk mainly driven by ischaemic heart diseases (weighted OR=2.26, 95% CI 1.71 to 2.99). Treatments with haloperidol, aripiprazole, quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone, sulpiride and chlorpromazine were associated with increased risk of CVDs. A non-linear dose-response relationship between dosage of antipsychotics and risk of CVDs was observed, with a sharp increase in risk in the beginning and then flattening out with higher doses.

Conclusions: Use of antipsychotics was associated with increased risk of incident CVDs among individuals with schizophrenia, and the risk varied substantially among different antipsychotics and specific CVDs.

Clinical implications: Clinicians should consider the cardiovascular risk of antipsychotics and choose the appropriate type and dose of drugs in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Keywords: Schizophrenia & psychotic disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia* / drug therapy


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines