Comparative Safety of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Home Residents

Authors

  • Krista F. Huybrechts MS, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Sebastian Schneeweiss MD, ScD,

    1. Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Tobias Gerhard PhD,

    1. Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
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  • Mark Olfson MD, MPH,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Jerry Avorn MD,

    1. Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Raisa Levin MS,

    1. Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Judith A. Lucas EdD, APN,

    1. Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
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  • Stephen Crystal PhD

    1. Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
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Address correspondence to Krista F. Huybrechts, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont Street, Suite 3030, Boston, MA 02120. E-mail: khuybrechts@partners.org

Abstract

Objectives

To compare the risk of major medical events in nursing home residents newly initiated on conventional or atypical antipsychotic medications (APMs).

Design

Cohort study, using linked Medicaid, Medicare, Minimum Data Set, and Online Survey Certification and Reporting data. Propensity score-adjusted proportional hazards models were used to compare risks for medical events at a class and individual drug level.

Setting

Nursing homes in 45 U.S. states.

Participants

Eighty-three thousand nine hundred fifty-nine Medicaid-eligible residents aged 65 and older who initiated APM treatment after nursing home admission in 2001 to 2005.

Measurements

Hospitalization for myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular events, serious bacterial infections, and hip fracture within 180 days of treatment initiation.

Results

Risks of bacterial infections (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05–1.49) and possibly myocardial infarction (HR = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.81–1.86) and hip fracture (HR = 1.29, 95% CI = 0.95–1.76) were higher, and risks of cerebrovascular events (HR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.65–1.02) were lower in participants initiating conventional APMs than in those initiating atypical APMs. Little variation existed between individual atypical APMs, except for a somewhat lower risk of cerebrovascular events with olanzapine (HR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.81–1.02) and quetiapine (HR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.79–1.02) and a lower risk of bacterial infections (HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.73–0.94) and possibly a higher risk of hip fracture (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.96–1.43) with quetiapine than with risperidone. Dose-response relationships were observed for all events (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.05–1.19 for high vs low dose for all events combined).

Conclusion

These associations underscore the importance of carefully selecting the specific APM and dose and monitoring their safety, especially in nursing home residents who have an array of medical illnesses and are undergoing complex medication regimens.

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