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Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD Announces: Vets' Deaths Are Not Suicides or 'Overdoses' but Sudden Cardiac Deaths Due to Prescription Antipsychotics and Antidepressants
Date:5/24/2010

class="xn-person">Eric B. Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, said there has been "a series, a sequence of deaths" in the new "warrior transition units."

In April 2005, the FDA warned that Seroquel put elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis at increased risk of death.

On January 15, 2009, Ray et al, reported that antipsychotics double the risk of sudden cardiac death.  On March 17, 2009, Whang et al reported that antidepressants, as well, increase the rate of sudden cardiac deaths.

And yet, in an August 14, 2008 analysis of two of the four Charleston-area deaths, the Inspector General for Veterans Affairs concluded (Report No. 08-01377-185): "Although antipsychotic medications have been identified as possible causes of cardiac rhythm disturbances, a 2001 review...found no association with olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), or risperidone (Risperdal) and Torsades de Pointes (a fatal heart rhythm) or sudden death... we are unaware of any clinical practice guidelines recommending baseline or periodic electrocardiogram monitoring in young, healthy patients on quetiapine (Seroquel)."

However, in a literature review covering the years 2000-2007, entitled Sudden Cardiac Death Secondary to Antidepressant and Antipsychotic Drugs: [Expert Opinion on Drug Safety; 2008, Number 2, March 2008 , pp. 181-194(14)] Sicouri and Antzelevitch conclude: (1) "A number of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs can increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death…" (2) "Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk even at low doses whereas antidepressants do it generally at high doses or in the setting of drug combinatio
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SOURCE Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD
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