Patients taking antipsychotic agents may be at an increased risk of myocardial infarction, based on a review of nine observational studies. Findings from the review are published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 

Earlier research found five observational studies that did not provide an accurate estimate of the relationship between use of antipsychotics and risk of myocardial infarction. Study authors from China conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that compared incidence of myocardial infarction among patients taking antipsychotics vs. no treatment. 

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The analysis found a 1.88-fold higher likelihood (odds ratio [OR] 1.88 95% CI: 1.39-2.54) of developing myocardial infarction in antipsychotic users vs. non-users. Subgroup analyses found an OR 2.48 (95% CI: 1.66-3.69) among patients with schizophrenia, and an OR 2.64 (95% CI: 2.48-2.81) among patients who used antipsychotics short-term (<30 days). 

Study findings support the evidence of an increased risk of myocardial infarction in patients who take antipsychotics. The data further adds to previous research by showing a higher and more robust risk of myocardial infarction in short-term users. 

“Our findings provide important information about the safety of antipsychotic drugs,” said Dr. Bing Ruan, senior author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study. “Clinicians should prescribe them only for patients with a clear need.”

Given antipsychotic agents are used to treat major psychiatric conditions, “the relatively modest increased absolute risk of MI is unlikely to alter their benefit-risk balance when used appropriately.”

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