London, Aug 29 : Drugs used to treat psychosis - a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality" - may increase risk of stroke, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, examined data from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) to reach their conclusion.
In the study, the team examined the effect of exposure to antipsychotic medication on the incidence of stroke in 6 790 patients with a recorded incident of stroke and at least one prescription of any antipsychotic between January 1988 and the end of 2002.
From the analysis, they found that during periods when patients were receiving an antispychotic drug they were 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke, whereas people with dementia were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke whilst taking any antipsychotic.
The likelihood of having a stroke was slightly higher for people taking atypical antipsychotics than people taking typical antipsychotics.
"We reaffirm that the risks associated with antipsychotic use in patients with dementia generally outweigh the potential benefits, and in this patient group, use of antipsychotic drugs should be avoided wherever possible," the British Medical Journal quoted the researchers, as saying.