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Antipsychotics raise pneumonia risk

Elderly patients who use antipsychotic drugs have a 60% increased risk of developing pneumonia compared with non-users, Dutch research shows.

The study, which followed 540 patients with at least one antipsychotic prescription and a hospital admission for pneumonia and more than 2,000 controls, found the risk was highest in the first week following prescription and decreased gradually thereafter.

Current users of atypical agents showed a three-fold increased risk of pneumonia, whereas risk was increased by just 50% with conventional agents although there was no clear dose-response relationship.

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