Mortality and non-use of antipsychotic drugs after acute admission in schizophrenia: A prospective total-cohort study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSchizophrenia Research. 2021, 235, 29-35. 10.1016/j.schres.2021.07.009
Background In society at large, it is debated whether use of antipsychotic drugs is associated with increased or decreased mortality among patients with schizophrenia. Large register studies have demonstrated an increased mortality risk associated with non-use of antipsychotic drugs, but prospective studies are missing. Aims To investigate the association between mortality and non-use of antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia. Method An open cohort study included and followed all patients with a discharge-diagnosis of schizophrenia consecutively admitted to a psychiatric acute unit at Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway during a 10 year period (n = 696). Cox multiple regression analyses were conducted with use of antipsychotic drugs as a time dependent variable, and periods of use and non-use were compared within individual patients. Adjustments were made for gender, age at index admission, number of acute psychiatric hospital admissions, excessive use of alcohol and illicit substances and use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Results A total of 68 (9.8%) deaths were registered during follow-up. Of these, 40 (59%) had natural causes, whereas 26 (38%) had unnatural causes. Non-use of antipsychotics was associated with 2.15 (p = .01, CI: 1.24–3.72) times higher mortality risk compared to use of antipsychotics. The difference in mortality risk between use and non-use of antipsychotic drugs was age dependent, with the largest risk difference in young patients. Conclusions Non-use of antipsychotic drugs was associated with twofold increased mortality risk in patients with schizophrenia.