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Antipsychotics Linked to Increased Mortality in Parkinson’s Patients

March 21, 2016


In a study published in JAMA Neurology, researchers presented findings regarding the link between antipsychotic medications and increased mortality in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at the records of approximately 15,000 patients in the Veteran’s Affairs database from 1999 to 2010. All of the patients had Parkinson’s disease, half were prescribed antipsychotics and the other half were not.

Patients who took antipsychotics were twice as likely to die six months after starting the medications (95% CI, 2.08-2.66).

The results varied by drug. The steepest increase in mortality was seen with haloperidol; patients taking this medication were 5.08 times more likely to die than the control group. That was followed by olanzapine, which had a relative risk of 2.79 (95% CI, 1.97-3.96). Risperidone’s relative risk was 2.46 (95% CI, 1.94-3.12), followed by quetiapine fumarate with a relative risk of 2.16 (95% CI, 1.88-2.48).

“I think that antipsychotic drugs should not be prescribed to Parkinson's patients without careful consideration,” senior author Dr. Daniel Weintraub, associate professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Penn Medicine and a fellow in Penn's Institute on Aging, said in a statement. “Antipsychotics should be used in these patients only when the psychosis is of clinical significance, and patients probably should not be left on these drugs long-term without re-evaluation.”

Click here to read the study.


--Stephanie Vaccaro



1. Weintraub D, Chiang C, Kim HM, et al. Association of antipsychotic use with mortality risk in patients with Parkinson disease. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print.

2. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Antipsychotic drugs linked to increased mortality among Parkinson's disease patients [press release]. 2016 Mar 21.

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